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12 December 2014, 08:55
The number of shoppers on Scotland's high streets has increased for a fifth month in a row, figures show.
Shopper numbers were 0.9% higher in November compared to a year ago and up 0.5% on the previous month.
The figures, contained in a report which tracks shopper numbers on the high street and out-of-town shopping centres in 142 towns and cities across the UK, show that Scotland's shopping areas are performing better than the rest of the UK, which overall saw a 2.4% decrease in footfall.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and Springboard monitor showed consecutive growth in Scotland for a fifth month.
The West Midlands, at 1.5%, and the east of England, 2.2%, were the only other areas to see an increase in shopper numbers.
Pricing and promotions on "black Friday'' and during the run-up to Christmas were identified as key factors in the rising shopper numbers.
SRC director David Lonsdale said: "This is a sparking set of footfall results. The growth in shopper numbers has accelerated compared to October, with Scotland recording the third fastest rise in footfall across ten different regions and countries of the UK.
"Shopper footfall in Scotland has risen for seven of the past eight months, suggesting that retailers' efforts to tempt shoppers with new ranges, pricing and promotions is making a difference.
"Retailers will be hoping that increased footfall, coupled with an improving labour market and rising real incomes, will provide a welcome sales fillip which can be sustained during and after the crucial Christmas trading period.
"Retail is the largest private-sector employer in Scotland, accounting for 257,000 jobs.
"Government can help the industry capitalise on its potential by making it easier and less costly for retailers to invest and through improved accessibility and more affordable parking in our town centres.''
Diane Wehrle, director at Springboard, said: ''Not only did footfall in Scotland's retail locations increase in November, but it is the only part of the UK to record consecutive monthly increases in footfall, with a rise every month since July.
"And also unlike the UK, footfall in both high streets and retail parks increased in November, with just shopping centres recording a negative change.
''Across the UK it was particularly disappointing for high streets and shopping centres that the significant price promotions offered over the black Friday weekend were not sufficient to turn the tide over the month.``