Footfall ‘buckling under weight of pandemic’

David Lonsdale

BRC-ShopperTrak data for October revealed that year-on-year UK footfall decreased by 33.5% during the month, with a 3.4 percentage point decline from September. This remains below the longer-term 12-month average decline of 32.9%.

The data also found that footfall on High Streets declined by 39.3% year-on-year. This was the worst performing location in October and the worst performing location for the third consecutive month.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 9.3% and shopping centres by 37.7% year-on-year.

Northern Ireland saw the shallowest shopping centre footfall decline of all regions for the fourth consecutive month, with -26.0%. Wales saw the sharpest rate of decline (-64.9%) because of new restrictions during October.

Scotland’s shopping centres saw a decline of -33.4%. This was a marginally better performance than the 35% drop in September and the 43% fall witnessed in August. Meanwhile, shopper footfall in Glasgow was down 36% in October compared to the same period last year, a deterioration on the 29% fall in September and the 35% decline recorded in August.

David Lonsdale (pictured), Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Shopper footfall continues to buckle under the weight of the pandemic, associated Covid restrictions and warnings about using public transport, and economic uncertainty. Visits to retail destinations in Scotland are languishing a third lower than last year, and make for unnerving reading for retailers in this early part of the crucial Christmas trading period.

“Scotland’s shops will only survive with the patronage of the public, especially in the run up to the festive period. Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers though promotions and pricing, but policy makers need to think more creatively too about how they can entice people back into our retail destinations, perhaps through free parking for the next seven weeks or vouchers or incentives to encourage customers to the shops.”

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