Promising improvement in Scottish city centre footfall

Scottish footfall decreased by 14.8% in April, although it was 6.3% better than March.

This is worse than the UK average decline of 13.1%, on a three-year comparison basis, according to the latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic IQ data.

To make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all figures are compared to their pre-pandemic, 2019 levels.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 20% in April – an improvement on the fall of 32% in March.

In April, footfall in Glasgow decreased by 11.6% – 7.9% better than March.

UK footfall by location

SRC director David Lonsdale said: “Buoyed by the easing of Covid restrictions and the return of commuters and tourism, the uplift in shopper footfall was particularly noticeable in our city centres and shopping centres.

“Of course, one swallow does not make a summer, and it remains true that visits to stores are still somewhat shy of pre-pandemic levels.

“However, several indicators crucial to the health of Scotland’s retail industry – retail sales, shop vacancies and now shopper footfall – are each beginning to point in a more favourable direction.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “At face value, this is all positive and welcome news for retailers as Scottish footfall recovery continues, however, it comes with a caveat that this only captures store visits, rather than reflecting what’s being rung through the tills.

“As shoppers feel the pinch of the rising cost-of-living and face downward pressures on their disposable incomes, conversions and basket sizes risk being reduced, so retailers – especially non-discounters or value brands – will need to work even harder to earn share of wallet and shopper loyalty in-store.”

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