A drop in footfall recorded in Scottish shops during December rounded off a “drab” final quarter of 2023 for retailers, an industry body has said.
Footfall in Scottish stores was down 2.2% year-on-year during the month of December, according to an analysis of how many shoppers entered stores.
The Scottish Retail Consortium said this was worse than the 0.9% year-on-year decrease seen in November.
Meanwhile, footfall across the UK was down by 5% in December compared to the same period in 2022.
Analysts blamed the exceptionally wet weather during the month alongside ongoing spending caution from consumers.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: “Visits to Scotland’s stores slipped back in December compared to the same period the year before, during what traditionally is seen as the busiest trading month of the year.
“This was the third successive monthly decline, rounding off a pretty drab final trading quarter of the year for Scottish stores.
“Footfall fell across most destinations, with only Edinburgh seeing an improvement.
“There’s little denying these are dreich and dispiriting figures for retailers with physical bricks and mortar premises, many of whom were hoping for a good Christmas to help weather ever increasing costs and tide them over the traditionally leaner months early in the new year.”
He said further figures later this month would confirm the impact on sales.
Around a third of non-food retail sales now take place online, he said.
Mr Lonsdale added: “This remains a period of significant flux for the retail industry.
“Sluggish demand, elevated supply chain and government-mandated cost pressures, and an uncertain economic outlook, are all weighing on stores.”
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