Scottish footfall decreased by 21.1% in March – although this was 0.5% better than February.
The latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic IQ data did note that this performance is still worse than the UK average decline of 15.4%, with Scotland again seeing the steepest decline in footfall of all UK nations.
Shopping centre footfall declined by 32% in March – an improvement on the decline of 34.7% in February.
In Glasgow last month, shopper numbers decreased by 19.5% – 1.3% better than during February.
To make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all figures are compared to their pre-pandemic (2019) levels.
MONTHLY TOTAL SCOTTISH RETAIL FOOTFALL (% CHANGE ON PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS)
SRC director David Lonsdale said the small uptick in shoppers last month showed Scots are gradually returning to retail destinations.
“However, the blunt truth is footfall continues to languish a fifth down on pre-pandemic levels – visits to shopping centres and Glasgow city centre improved a touch, however Scotland as a whole continued to lag other parts of the UK.
“Scotland’s shops and the thousands of jobs they provide will only survive with the patronage of the public, and questions remain over what demand will look like in the months ahead – as such, these stark figures should lead to a sharper response from policy makers as to the health of our retail destinations.”
Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “While Covid-19 restrictions maybe loosening, despite the extension of the mask-wearing mandate, the nation’s belts may start to tighten as the impact of the cost-of-living squeeze and price inflation accelerates, and the knock-on effect of the energy cap rise and increased National Insurance contributions this month remain unknown as they look ahead into April and beyond.
“However, while price sensitivity may be growing among UK consumers, spending and brand loyalty seem to be ‘stickier’ in-store, with our recent research showing over a third were less price sensitive when shopping in-store compared to when they bought items online, and half felt more loyal to the bricks-and-mortar brands they shop with.”
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