Footfall slumps as vacancy rate improves

Shoppers

The number of empty shops in Scotland fell last month, with the SRC/Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor reporting a vacancy of rate of 8.4% for April. The rate for January stood at 9.1%.

This welcome news was offset by a third successive month of declining shopper footfall numbers. April saw a drop of -6.2% compared to the same period last year. The downwards trend is gaining momentum, with footfall tumbling last month at a faster rate than over the past quarter and also the last 12 months.

David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium said shoppers were remaining cautious in a time of “significant tumult” for the retail industry. “The Holyrood Parliament now exerts significant influence over take home pay and the cost of living and it remains to be seen what impact the planned changes to council tax and devolved income tax next year will have on disposable incomes and consumer confidence going forward.”

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard, agreed: “The rise in unemployment and economic uncertainty in this pre-EU referendum period has undoubtedly adversely impacted consumer activity. We know that cuts in retail spending are the first line of defence against threats to household budgets when consumer confidence is knocked.”