Scottish shops welcomed more people through their doors in August, compared to the month before, but numbers were still down by 21.2% on two years ago.
The 5.9 percentage point increase from July was welcomed by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), but the industry body said it was “disconcerting” in the run-up to Christmas.
And the slump from the pre-pandemic days of August 2019 was worse than the 18% decline seen across the whole UK.
Policymakers could consider what more they could do to help galvanise growth in consumer confidence and entice shoppers back.”
David Lonsdale, Scottish Retail Consortium
The latest “footfall” figures from SRC and Sensormatic IQ – part of international smart buildings specialist Johnson Controls – also shows Scottish shopping centres suffered a 29% decline last month, against August 2019, a slight improvement from 31.7% in July.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: “Shopper footfall in Scotland continued to improve in a steady if unspectacular way in August, and for a second successive month.
“That said, footfall is still languishing a fifth down on pre-pandemic levels, with Scotland’s performance weaker than that of the UK as a whole.
“While the improvement was seen across all retail destinations, it was least pronounced and pretty meagre in shopping centres.”
Mr Lonsdale added: “The sustained weakness in shopper footfall is disconcerting as the hourglass counts down towards what is traditionally retail’s golden quarter prior to Christmas.
“This is when many retailers generate the revenues required to tide them through the leaner early months in the new year.
“Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers back, however, policymakers could consider what more they could do to help galvanise growth in consumer confidence and entice shoppers back.”
‘Improved shopper counts’
Europe, Middle East and Africa retail consultant Andy Sumpter, of Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Bolstered by staycationer shopper traffic and the ‘back to school’ boost, August saw footfall recovering to its highest point, compared to pre-pandemic levels so far this year.
“In every UK city we track… showed improved shopper counts, as vaccine confidence won out against the fears and spread of the Delta variant.”