Scotland and London see retail footfall rise

Scotland was the only part of the UK to see a rise in shoppers in the last three months outside of London, according to retailers.

Glasgow's Buchanan Street shopping artery, Scotland was the only place outside London to see growth in retail footfall. Picture: TSPL
Glasgow's Buchanan Street shopping artery, Scotland was the only place outside London to see growth in retail footfall. Picture: TSPL

There was a 1.7% rise in footfall in Scottish stores between April and June compared with the same period last year, a report by the British Retail Consortium has found.

The only other region of the UK to see a rise in shopper numbers in that period was London, which saw a 3% rise in footfall.

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This contrasts with Northern Ireland which saw a 5.2% drop in footfall, while every other region in the UK also saw decreases over the three month period.

Scotland saw a 3% year on year rise in footfall in May alone, slowing to a 1.2% rise by June.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “With the improving weather in June, we saw an increase in footfall. This represents three straight months of growth in shopper numbers and Scotland’s performance was slightly above the UK average.

“This encouraging trend backs up the figures that showed tentative growth in Scottish retail sales earlier in the year. Scottish retailers are continuing to have to work hard to tempt shoppers, however whilst customers remain careful with their money, we are seeing them respond to seasonal promotions and discounts.”

The UK has also seen an overall trend for shoppers to move away from out of town shopping centres back to the High Street.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “The High Street once again recorded a better footfall performance than shopping centres, with an annual increase in footfall of 1.4% in June, compared with a decline of 3% in shopping centres. Over the quarter to the end of June, high streets outperformed both shopping centres and out-of-town locations by a significant margin.

“All of the increase in footfall in June came about from just four areas in the UK - Scotland, Greater London, West Midlands and Wales - with Greater London and Wales performing particularly strongly, with a 2.4% increase in Greater London and 2.3 % in Wales.

“In part, the more favourable performance of high streets can be put down to the fact that they underwent a greater decline in footfall than managed shopping locations in previous years, and so start from a lower base.

“However, the benefit of high streets being open for business 24 hours a day is also key as it is footfall which falls outside usual retail trading hours - rather than between 9am and 5pm - which is improving, and clearly shielding high streets against the ill winds of a long term decline in customer numbers.”