Shopping centre footfall in Scotland plummeted in August

Footfall in Scottish shopping centres and malls was down 43 per cent compared to the same period last year in August, the second weakest performance of any part of the UK.

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium also showed shopper footfall in Glasgow was down 35 per cent last month compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, footfall on High Streets declined by 41.7 per cent year on year UK-wide as people continued to work from home.

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David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Scottish stores lost £2.1 billion of retail sales over the first five months of the pandemic, and have yet to get back to pre-crisis levels. The situation is slowly improving but remains most acute in city centres, where stores are suffering significant drops in footfall.

“Shops and retail jobs depend on the patronage of the public. A prolonged absence of office workers, students and tourists from Scotland’s city centres will be felt hugely by retailers and other consumer-facing businesses who rely on their custom, especially in the run up to the critical Christmas trading period. City centre retailing can be a springboard for the economy to bounce back, but it requires an urgent plan for the permitted re-opening of ‘non-essential’ offices and the safe return of office workers to our city centres.”

Retail consultant Andy Sumpter, of ShopperTrak, which co-authored the report, said the UK Government campaign to encourage people to eat in cafes and restaurants had helped improve footfall over the course of the month.

He said: “Footfall in the UK continued to improve throughout August, with a marked upturn in the final week. This can in part be attributed to the last days of the “Eat Out to Help Out” campaign.”

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