SRC: Scottish shopper footfall dropped by 17.5% in February

Scottish footfall decreased by 17.5% in February (Yo2Y), 1.3 percentage points worse than January, according to the latest Scottish Footfall Monitor from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic IQ.

SRC: Scottish shopper footfall dropped by 17.5% in February

This is worse than the UK average decline of 14.9% (Yo2Y). Scotland saw the steepest decline in footfall of all UK regions.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 31.2% in February (Yo2Y) in Scotland, an improvement on the decline of 36.6% in January.

A the same time, footfall in Glasgow decreased by 19.0% (Yo2Y), 1.4 percentage points worse than January.

David Lonsdale, director, SRC, said: “Shopper footfall in Scotland nudged down a smidgeon in February compared to the month before, and remained well below the same period prior to the pandemic. Sadly this means there was little boost to retailers from the rescinding of the work-from-home order at the very start of the month. As such this was an underwhelming and disappointing performance. That said, the dip wasn’t uniform across all destinations as shopping centres saw their first monthly improvement since the autumn.

“Concerns about the cost of living and even the bleak weather in the second half of the month could well have exerted a downward pressure on visits to stores. However, these figures do underline the protracted nature of the recovery and the need for concerted action and a more upbeat message from policy makers in the short-term to encourage and entice shoppers back.

“After all, much of our wider economy is ultimately dependent on what happens to consumer spending. The devolved government’s new city centres recovery fund provides a timely opportunity to breathe life back into city centre retailing, which has been hit especially hard by the exodus of office workers and tourists during the pandemic, however it must be put to good use swiftly.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “While February’s shopper traffic fell back in Scotland, the total footfall across the UK still leads the top 5 European markets’ footfall recovery, suggesting a collective growing confidence among shoppers.

“With UK Governments announcing the further easing and ending of covid restrictions, this represents what many, not least retailers, hope will be the ‘beginning of the end’ of the covid crisis - our latest data shows consumer concern about in-store safety fell by -18 percentage points year-on-year – however, shoppers now face new and growing pressures.

“The cost-of-living squeeze and inflation, which is putting downward pressures on disposable income, and a volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical climate could create a perfect storm of uncertainty for consumers, which could still impact the long-term retail recovery as it looks to build back post-pandemic.”

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