Scotland sees Boxing Day footfall slump from 2019 - but rebound hugely from 2020

Footfall at shops in Scotland on Boxing Day this year has come in at just under half the level seen on the same day in 2019, although the nation saw by far the biggest jump in the UK from 2020, according to a new report.

Retail specialist Springboard has flagged a “disappointing” Boxing Day performance across the UK due to nervousness over Covid variant Omicron, and as new restrictions came into effect. Total footfall across all destinations was down by 41 per cent from exactly two years ago, despite some queues of shoppers.

The level in Scotland was down by 48.3 per cent, lower than the 51.3 per cent fall seen in Wales, but higher than England’s 39.7 per cent drop, for example. However, compared to the same day in 2020, there was a great improvement across the UK, with footfall up by nearly half – and Scotland racking up a massive 345.9 per cent year-on-year jump.

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Shoppers in Glasgow on Boxing Day this year. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

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Commenting on the report as a whole, Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “A major reason for the significantly lower footfall compared with 2019 will be due to consumers' ongoing nervousness about the Covid infection rate. This will have been compounded by the fact that a few multiple retailers opted not to open on Boxing Day, which will have deterred some shoppers.

“In addition, Sunday generally has the lowest footfall on any day in the week, so a comparison with 2019 when Boxing Day fell on a Thursday will always have meant that footfall would be lower than two years ago. Despite this, most multiple retailers still opened their doors to shoppers, and the mild weather should have meant that it was easy for shoppers to visit stores and destinations.”

Separate figures on Scottish shopper footfall were published on December 20 by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and SensormaticIQ, revealing that the previous week saw a 25 per cent fall compared to the same period two years ago, up 9.5 percentage points from the previous seven days. SRC director David Lonsdale said it marked a “a significant and worrying further slump”.

That had followed a study from PwC finding that one in ten chain shops in Scotland was still closed six months after the lockdown in the first half of 2021, with about 100 closing permanently.

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