Scotland’s shopper footfall growth has been ranked the worst in the UK, compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Data from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic for May showed that Scottish footfall decreased by 16.4%, compared with 2019.
While footfall across the UK also worsened from pre-pandemic levels, Scotland’s score ever lower than the UK average decline of 12.5%.
However there are signs of improvement in shopping centre footfall, with a 19.7% decline noted in May, compared with 2019. This is an increase on the 20% decline in April.
David Lonsdale, director at the SRC, said that ScotRail cancellations and the cost-of-living crisis are likely to be responsible for the lack of shoppers.
“The figures weakened during the latter part of the month, perhaps derailed somewhat by the train drivers’ dispute.
“However the performance wasn’t uniform across all retail destinations – visits to shopping centres improved slightly and for a fourth consecutive month, while in Glasgow it remained on par with the month before which was the joint best performance so far this calendar year.
“Hopefully, this dip in foot-traffic will prove temporary although concerns over the economic outlook, rising cost of living and continued absence of some commuters remain.
“Meanwhile, there remains a question mark over the government’s mooted return to city centres visitor campaign and the cash disbursed to local councils recently to aid city centre recovery and whether they are having much impact on generating the footfall that is so urgently needed.”
In May, footfall in Glasgow decreased by 11.6% compared with pre-pandemic levels, and remains unchanged from April.
It is fourth overall in the UK, compared with UK cities, with Leeds ranking bottom with a 19% decline, while Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham outranked Scotland’s largest city.
Andy Sumpter, retail consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, said: “With households already starting to feel the pinch of the rising cost of living and growing inflationary pressures, retailers are already seeing the impact it can have on footfall recovery.
“As they look ahead to June, retailers will be hoping that high streets will be rallied by the jubilee weekend celebrations and that the event will prompt ambient shopper traffic and retail spend.”
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