By Ian McConnell

FOOTFALL in Scotland’s shopping centres and malls in October was down by 33 per cent on the same month of last year, as the decline in consumers visiting Glasgow’s retail outlets accelerated, the latest industry data show.

Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale warned the figures made for “unnerving reading” going into the key Christmas trading period, declaring footfall “continues to buckle” under the weight of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, the year-on-year decline in footfall in Scottish shopping centres and malls last month was slightly less steep than the corresponding 35% drop in September, according to the latest British Retail Consortium-ShopperTrak figures published today. It was also not as bad as the 43% year-on-year fall recorded for August.

However, the year-on-year drop in overall retail footfall in Glasgow accelerated from 29% in September to 36% last month. The year-on-year fall in Glasgow in August was 35%.

Mr Lonsdale said: “Shopper footfall continues to buckle under the weight of the pandemic, associated Covid restrictions and warnings about using public transport, and economic uncertainty. Visits to retail destinations in Scotland are languishing a third lower than last year, and make for unnerving reading for retailers in this early part of the crucial Christmas trading period.”

He added: “Scotland’s shops will only survive with the patronage of the public, especially in the run up to the festive period. Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers through promotions and pricing, but policymakers need to think more creatively too about how they can entice people back into our retail destinations, perhaps through free parking for the next seven weeks or vouchers or incentives to encourage customers to the shops.”

The BRC-ShopperTrak figures show that overall UK retail footfall in October was down by 33.5% on the same month of last year.