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15 June 2015, 08:13
Footfall in Scottish shops fell for the first time since January last month as shoppers remained cautions and sales "humdrum'', according to a new report.
New figures showed that footfall numbers in Scotland in May were 1.8% lower than a year ago, down on the 1.1% rise in April 2015.
This is the worst performance since January 2015 and below the UK average of -1.0%, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium/Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor - May 2015.
High streets and shopping centres drove the decline while footfall in retail parks in Scotland rose for the 14th consecutive month.
David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: "The sustained growth in shopper footfall has been one of the economic bright spots over the past year, and so the slight contraction in footfall witnessed in May hopefully owes more to shoppers catching their breath than anything more serious.
"Indeed, this is the first reported dip in footfall since January and only the third since this time last year. We also have to bear in mind that Scottish retailers are increasingly adept at harnessing the internet and multi-channel innovations to get through to consumers who might not have time to travel to the shops.
"That said, shoppers undoubtedly remain cautious - despite growth in pay outstripping inflation - and retail sales remain humdrum. That's why we are looking to the Chancellor to use his upcoming summer Budget to prioritise measures which bolster disposable incomes and consumer confidence.''
Across the UK as a whole footfall in May was 1.0% lower than a year ago, down from the 0.8% fall in April and below the three-month average of -0.5.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: ''The drop in footfall of 1.8% in Scotland is a noticeable downward shift from the increase of 1.1% in April.
"In line with the UK, it is high streets and shopping centres that drove the decline with drops of 3.6% and 4.4% respectively. Footfall in retail parks in Scotland rose for the 14th consecutive month, although the rate of increase dropped away from 9.5% in April to 5.9% in May.
''Recording an increase in footfall for the past 14 consecutive months averaging 5.8%, retail parks are clearly the winners in the grab for consumers across Scotland's bricks and mortar retail destinations.
"This brings into sharp contrast the increase of just 0.1% in high streets and the drop of 1.7% in shopping centres over the same period.''