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Scottish footfall decreased by 72.5% in January

Scottish shopping centre

Scottish shopping centre footfall fell by 76.5% in January, while the UK average shopping centre footfall decline was 78.2%

Year-on-year Scottish footfall decreased by 72.5% in January, a 22.3% decline from December, according to the latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and ShopperTrak data.

Glasgow was the worst hit Scottish city, with year-on-year footfall down by 75.5% in January, a worsening of 15.7% from December.

Scottish shopping centre footfall fell by 76.5% in January, although this was less of a decline than the UK average shopping centre footfall decline of 78.2%.

Weekly footfall for the four weeks in January was broadly within the same range, with a slightly shallower decline during the last week of the month.

SRC director David Lonsdale pointed out that footfall nosedived last month as shoppers heeded the Scottish Government’s order for people to stay home.

It was the worst month for shop visits since last May, and was witnessed across all retail locations, unsurprising with shoppers really only able to go to pharmacies and food and pet supply stores and with click and collect and food-to-go takeaway curtailed by fresh restrictions from the middle of the month, he said.

Lonsdale said, hopefully government will make clear the route back to re-opening stores soon, but while a return to trading is crucial, it will not be a panacea for the industry. Even when we emerge from the current enforced hibernation it is likely that shops will be unable to trade at capacity due to physical distancing and caps on the number of customers in stores.

Andy Sumpter, EMEA retail consultant at ShopperTrak, said that it’s important to remember that when retail has reopened from lockdown previously, demand for in-store shopping has returned each time.

And while the pandemic may have accelerated ‘retail Darwinism’, those that have used this time as an opportunity to reset and invest in the operational foundations to meet new demands will be well placed to capitalise on pent-up demand for the in-person shopping experiences we have all been missing, as well as setting themselves up for strong, long-term growth, he said.

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