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Fewer Christmas shoppers as pressures mount

LK Bennett Edinburgh shop
Shop footfall remains lower than in 2019

Shopping footfall in Scotland remains well below pre-pandemic levels as cost of living pressures, rail strikes and wet weather contributed to a 9.9% fall in December on the same month in 2019.

That was worse than the UK average drop of 7.3% and Scotland was in ninth out of of the 13 UK nations and regions covered by the latest research. Shopping Centre footfall in Scotland declined by 12.7% in December compared to the pre-pandemic period.

However, footfall in Glasgow (down 7.9%), and Edinburgh (down 5.1%,) performed better than the Scottish average.

Unsurprisingly, December saw the best monthly performance of 2022 and recorded the biggest monthly improvement in store visits since Covid-era restrictions were scrapped in March. Postal strikes meant some shoppers headed to high streets as they could not be sure of receiving parcels online.

The data provided by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Sensormatic said total footfall in December was up 27.8% on 2021 when restrictions still applied.

David Lonsdale, the SRC director, said: “Buoyed by festive spending in the build-up to Christmas and discounting by retailers in the immediate aftermath, this was a far sprightlier and encouraging end to the year for shopper footfall in Scotland and the best results since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.”

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