Call to rekindle consumer confidence after Scots footfall recovery stalls

The number of shoppers visiting Scottish retail destinations in June was nearly a third lower than two years ago, according to figures out today – prompting a call to “reignite” consumer confidence.

Footfall decreased by 29.5 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2019, which has been used for comparison in the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)-Sensormatic IQ data as 2020 was such a turbulent year.

The figure is below the UK average decline of 27.6 per cent and a 4.8 per cent decrease from May 2021. Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall fell by 34.1 per cent compared to 2019.

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Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs at the SRC, said: “The recovery in shopper footfall stalled in June in the second full month since shops fully reopened, with total footfall falling back by nearly 5 per cent compared to the previous month.

The figures are seen as showing 'just how far the retail industry is from recovering from the Covid crisis'. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

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“This was very different from the story elsewhere in the UK, potentially driven by the pause in relaxing Covid restrictions north of the Border.

“That reverse meant visits to retail destinations were nearly a third lower than the comparable period in 2019. Shopping centres continue to struggle to attract shoppers, with footfall more than a third below the 2019 figure.”

He added that the figures show “just how far the retail industry is from recovering from the Covid crisis”, adding: “Whilst stores can trade, the restrictions on hospitality and office working continue to impact on visits to the high street.

“Operating stores itself remains challenging, with capacity limits due to caps on the number of customers... There is a growing need for policy-makers to consider how best to reignite consumer confidence."

The figures also show that footfall in Glasgow decreased in June by 30.3 per cent compared to two years ago, with a 7.2 per cent decline from May 2021.

The latest report follow in the footsteps of the most recent sales monitor from the SRC and KPMG. That found that while stores in May of this year continued to benefit from the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, there was still a 3.6 per cent fall in total sales, compared with the same month in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Mr MacDonald-Russell at the time said the industry was “not yet out of the woods”.

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