SHOPPER numbers in Scotland were down last month on a year ago as consumer confidence struggles to lift.
The number of people hitting the shops in March fell 2.1 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the latest figures.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Springboard footfall monitor recorded an overall rise in the number of UK shoppers.
The SRC said that although Scottish figures were down they represented a slowing of the 4.1 per cent decline recorded in February.
Head of policy David Martin said: “We have seen encouraging signs of improvement in shopper numbers in March. The decline in footfall reported in recent months has slowed significantly.
“The numbers are moving in the right direction.”
UK shopper numbers increased by an average of 1.8 per cent in March, with consumers favouring out-of-town stores over the high street.
Footfall was up 2.4 per cent in Northern Ireland but down 2.7 per cent in Wales.
Mr Martin said: “We are still to see much, if any, of the economic recovery translate into higher levels of confidence or propensity to spend in Scotland.
“With Scottish sales figures out next week, retailers will be hoping that improved levels of footfall in March has translated into more transactions and that this momentum can be maintained over the Easter period.”
Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “Scotland continues to face challenges in increasing customer activity to its retail destinations, with footfall underperforming the UK for the third month in a row.”
The footfall monitor gathers data on customer activity in town and city centres and out-of-town stores each month.