Scotland’s shopping footfall ‘still languishing 25% below pre-pandemic levels’

Glasgow shoppers
Glasgow shoppers (PA Wire)
0:01am, Fri 04 Jun 2021
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Footfall at Scotland’s shops is still languishing around 25% below the levels recorded before the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor has begun comparing its 2021 figures to those of 2019 as a result of Covid-19’s impact on the industry in the last year.

According to its May data, Scottish footfall was down by 24.7% in year-on-two-years (Yo2Y) – a 27.4 percentage point increase from April.

However this was still above the UK average decline of 27.7% (Yo2Y).

Shopping centre footfall also declined by 33% in May (Yo2Y) in Scotland up from -59.0% in April.

Policy makers need to think more creatively too about how they might reignite consumer confidence, entice people back into our retail destinations, and kick-start demand

David Lonsdale, SRC director, said: “The recovery in shopper footfall gathered momentum in the first full month that shops were able to open and trade since Scotland’s lockdown was lifted in late April.

“The unleashed pent-up demand saw marked improvements in footfall right across the board.

“That said, visits to retail destinations still languished a quarter lower than during the comparable period two years ago.

“Reopening alone has yet to prove a magic bullet for our hard-pressed retail industry, the country’s largest private sector employer, which remains unable to trade at capacity due to physical distancing and caps on the number of customers in stores.

“Without a rebound in footfall and increased demand, many retailers will struggle to make ends meet, placing a question mark over the viability of stores and jobs and the vitality of our retail destinations.

“Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers, but policy makers need to think more creatively too about how they might reignite consumer confidence, entice people back into our retail destinations, and kick-start demand – through a clear plan for the safe return of office workers, and perhaps through free parking, or a voucher scheme to encourage customers to the shops as is planned for Northern Ireland.”

The data also suggests footfall in Glasgow decreased by 23.1% (Yo2Y), a 28.7 percentage point improvement from April.

Mr Lonsdale added: “Unsurprisingly, the footfall gains in Glasgow tailed off towards the latter stages of the month, as tougher Covid restrictions affecting travel into and out of the city were introduced.”

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