Footfall: Stark Edinburgh and Glasgow figures as fewer shoppers visit Scottish high streets

Scottish high streets saw footfall decline last month but fared well in comparison to other parts of the UK, figures today reveal.

Overall footfall slipped by 0.9 per cent in June, compared with a year earlier, despite shopping centre footfall actually rising by 3.6 per cent, year on year, according to the latest data from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic. A city breakdown shows that footfall in Edinburgh jumped by 4.7 per cent, while Glasgow slumped 7.2 per cent. Last month, the footfall monitor was not published while the methodology was improved.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: “Shopper footfall growth in Scotland slipped into decline last month, recording the weakest performance of the year so far. That said, Scotland’s performance ranked second overall among the 13 parts of the UK that were measured, coming in only behind London. Shopping centres and Edinburgh were destinations that both continued to report a modest growth in store visits compared to a year ago, with figures for the latter perhaps swollen by tourism. Glasgow’s foot traffic nudged down during the month.”

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He added: “Elevated levels of inflation coupled with recent tax increases are gnawing away at household disposable incomes. Whilst it’s tricky to second guess what might happen next to consumer spending and visits to stores, rising mortgage rates and potentially higher taxes to plug gaps in the public finances may weigh further on consumer sentiment.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for Sensormatic Solutions, said: “We saw the far-reaching ripple effect of April’s UK inflation peak taking hold, with the three-month rolling average for UK footfall in June dipping down into negative figures (-1.1 per cent) for the first time this year. Scottish shopper traffic had managed to hold up in May, before marginally dipping into negative figures in June, as the ongoing cost-of-living pressure continues to impact shopper behaviour and undermine consumer confidence. However, with the tide of UK food price inflation looking like it is finally - and albeit slowly - starting to recede, retailers will be looking ahead with cautious optimism to July, and hoping to benefit from ambient footfall from the school holiday period.”

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