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Online rise adds to drop in high street footfall

The rise of online shopping has contributed to disappointing footfall figures for Scotland's high streets and out-of-town centres in December, according to the body that represents the retail sector.

New figures show that footfall in December 2013 was 1.9% lower than the previous December.

The statistics were published as part of the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Springboard monitor, which tracks shopper numbers on the high street and out of town shopping centres.

It showed that while footfall fell by 0.3% in November 2013, from the previous November, the decline in December contributed to a fall of 1.6% when comparing the three-month period of October to December 2013, to the same quarter from 2012.

Figures for the whole of the UK showed a 2.4% decline in footfall in December last year.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Scottish shopper numbers dropped by a smaller amount than the UK average but it's obviously a concern to see the fall was so steep after November showed some encouraging hints of recovery.

"Last week's UK sales showed a last-minute rush in the final few days before Christmas and we'd expect to see similar in the Scottish figures, but that hasn't translated into overall footfall growth.

"Online was a big story this Christmas and these figures certainly reflect the rapid pace of change of how people are shopping."

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: "Scotland's retail locations were slightly more resilient in December than the UK as a whole, which recorded a 2.4% fall."

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