Footfall in shops ‘still far behind pre-pandemic levels’

The Scottish Retail Consortium said footfall for retailers is down 27.1% in July on the same month in 2019.

Footfall in shops ‘still far behind pre-pandemic levels’ SNS Group

Scotland’s retailers are still struggling to attract the same number of shoppers as before the pandemic, according to an industry body.

Figures provided by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) show footfall for retailers is down 27.1% in July on the same month in 2019.

This compares to a 28% decrease across the UK.

Scotland has the fifth worst figures of UK areas, after London (-39.4%), England as a whole (-28.7%), north east England (-28.3) and Yorkshire and the Humber (-27.5%).

Northern Ireland saw the shallowest footfall decline of the UK nations at -19.9%, followed by Wales at -25.8%.

Glasgow is performing better than every other UK city measured other than Belfast and Cardiff, but footfall there is still down 26.1%.

The figures come from British Retail Consortium-Sensormatic IQ data.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, SRC head of policy and external affairs, said: “There is little sign Scottish shoppers are returning to retail destinations in the same numbers they did before the pandemic.

“Whilst July saw a small improvement in shopper visits to retail destinations on the previous month, footfall continues to be more than a quarter down on the equivalent month in 2019.

“As we have seen in recent months, out-of-town destinations continue to do best, whilst high streets, and especially shopping centres struggle to attract shoppers.”

He added: “With most Covid restrictions ending from August 9, retailers will hope there is a late summer surge to Scotland’s shops.

“If that doesn’t transpire, Scottish ministers should urgently consider what interventions they could make to encourage consumers back to the high street.

“This could be through temporary free parking, an advertising campaign to encourage people back to city centres, or a high street voucher scheme like Northern Ireland is introducing.

“Despite the slight improvement this month, it’s clear retail is some way from recovering from the effects of Covid.”