Retail footfall drops in Scottish High Streets

Retial footfall is down in Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Retial footfall is down in Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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Retailers experienced a disappointing July with new figures showing footfall was down by 0.4% for the month.

It is the third time since January that monthly figures have shown a decline, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said.

Both the high street and shopping centres saw footfall drop, with the latter seeing a 2.2% decrease, however retail parks experienced a 2.1% increase.

The latest figures from the SRC Springboard footfall and vacancies monitor also showed that the town centre vacancy rate in Scotland rose slightly in July.

The rate was up to 9.3% from 9.2% in April.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, of the SRC, said: “This is a rather cheerless set of figures, heralding a second successive quarterly increase in the shop vacancy rate in our town centres coupled with shopper footfall sagging last month.

“Almost one out of every 10 retail premises in Scotland now sits empty.

“Encouraging shoppers back is crucial to reducing the number of vacant premises, and retailers and shopping destinations are clearly going to have to work harder to attract custom through a blend of improvements including service, ranges, pricing and promotions.

“However, a more concerted and urgent effort is required from public policy to reduce the cost of doing business.”

Mr MacDonald Russell said a “reformed rates system and substantially lower tax burden which would increase retailers’ confidence about investing in new and refurbished shop premises, create jobs and help revive high streets and town centres”.