New data shows footfall in Scottish retail increased
According to retail experts MRI Springboard, footfall across Scotland’s retail destinations rose from July to August. However the impact of this rise in the cost of living reflected in the most modest annual uplift yet
Footfall performance in August confounded expectations, with a rise of +3.8% from July, following a very modest increase of just +0.2% from June to July. Footfall rose from July across all three key destination types, which countered the result in July when footfall declined from June in both high streets and retail parks.
The key driver of the increase in footfall was a noticeable uplift during the weekday period compared with the weekend when there was a much more modest increase in consumer activity. Indeed, somewhat inevitably any weakening in consumer demand disproportionately impacts footfall over the weekend when a far greater proportion of trips are leisure based, and therefore discretionary, rather than being for work related purposes.
Across all of Scotland’s retail destinations footfall between Monday and Friday increased by +4.4% from July, versus a rise of just +1.4% over the weekend period. In Scotland’s high streets, the difference was even more significant, with a rise in footfall from July of +5.4% during the weekday period compared with a modest uplift of just +0.4% over the weekend.
In contrast, in shopping centres – where the offer is predominantly retail and leisure led – there was a greater rise in footfall of +3.3% over the weekend versus +2.4% between Monday and Friday
Despite the robust performance of Scotland’s retail destinations in August versus July, the reining in of consumer activity due to the higher cost of living crisis is evident in a smaller annual uplift in footfall.
Across all of Scotland’s retail destinations, in August footfall increased by +2.8% from 2022, the smallest annual rise yet, and significantly less than in both July (+4.5% from July 2022) and June (+7.5% from June 2022).
In Scotland’s high streets the annual uplift in August shrunk to +2.7% from +5.7% in July and +11.1% in June. This is reflected in the ongoing gap from the 2019 footfall level which in July and August reached -14% and -14.1% respectively, versus -11% in June.