Scotland’s drop in attendance sparks another call for supporting grants

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Scottish retail footfall fell 22.8% in December, from the same month before the pandemic – and also 3% from November.

That’s below the UK’s average drop of 18.6% and for the fifth consecutive month, Scotland saw the biggest drop in attendance of the four countries.

The latest figures from Sensormatic IQ and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) also showed that footfall in Scottish shopping centers fell 31.9% in December compared to 2019 figures, down from 28% compared to November.

In December, attendance in Glasgow fell by 21.8% compared to 2019.

CBC director David Lonsdale said government instructions to work from home and socialize less, coupled with the reintroduction of physical distancing in stores, took a heavy toll.

“December saw the lowest monthly store visit numbers since July and the biggest deterioration since June.

“This has fenced off a deeply worrying ‘golden quarter’ for Scottish traders, many of whom traditionally need a strong pre-Christmas trade in order to tide them over during the fallow winter months.”

He added: “Scottish ministers must stand ready to give more support to the retail sector if these conditions are to persist, through subsidies for shops as their Welsh counterparts are proposing, removing the cap on the Business rate relief announced in the budget, or through a Main Street stimulus package like Northern Ireland has implemented.

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for Sensormatic Solutions, added, “With the booster vaccination program being delivered at a steady pace and some glimmers of hope that the Omicron wave may level off in some areas, retailers are hoping that the cautious consumer optimism returns, and with it a New Year’s resolution to continue supporting local shopping streets and brick-and-mortar stores.

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