A newly released report from the Scottish Retail Commission (SRC) has revealed that the country is seeing lower numbers of customers at its retail outlets than the national average.
According to the SRC report, February’s total footfall in the retail sector slumped by 2.5% in comparison to 2012 figures. In the same period, the national UK average was a 0.8% increase, despite both North England and Yorkshire each seeing a fall of 2.7%.
The biggest single area to report an increase was Greater London, which added 5.8% to its retail footfall.
According to Fiona Moriarty, the director of the SRC, the lower levels in Scotland are as a result of low confidence in consumers. She said:
“Scottish retailers will be hoping that the arrival of spring and seasonal lifts from Mother’s Day and Easter help to elevate this underwhelming figure into more positive territory in the coming months.”
However, with continuing Arctic conditions for the foreseeable future, spring could yet be very much unsprung.
The climate, both meteorologically and financially, could result in more businesses having to rework their finances too. Already, large numbers of retailers in Scotland are working with Glasgow and Edinburgh factoring companies to introduce debt reductions.
On a national level, there was better news though, with the UK high street seeing its first increase in footfall for three months. Posting an increase of 2.7% for the period, it came at the expense of out-of-town centres, which experienced a fall.
Many commentators, consumers and retailers will be hoping that brighter weather will lift the heavy clouds further soon.