Scotland business

Scottish shopper numbers 'boosted' by shop promotions

Shop sale signs Image copyright Thinkstock

Shop promotions and new ranges helped to drive up footfall on Scotland's high streets and shopping centres last month, according to industry figures.

A survey by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) found that shopper numbers north of the border were up by 0.5% on a year ago.

That compared with a fall of 0.8% for the UK as a whole.

Scotland's shop vacancy rate also fell slightly to 9%, which was well below the UK rate of 10.3%.

'Chipper' results

SRC director David Lonsdale said: "This is a chipper set of results on footfall and vacancies as we now head into the important Christmas shopping period.

"Footfall has increased every month bar one since Easter, though the trick, as ever, is converting this into actual sales.

"The further welcome drop in the number of empty shops over the past quarter means that Scotland's vacancy rate is now the lowest of the four countries of the UK.

"However, the pace of the decline in the number of vacant premises has slowed, and one in every 11 shops still remains empty."

Diane Wehrle, from retail analyst Springboard, said: ''The positive performance of Scotland's retail locations continued in October, with an increase in footfall for the fourth month in a row.

'Also, in contrast with the UK, the vacancy rate in Scotland has fallen since January this year.

"However, this trend is likely to shift upwards over the next year as the large number of retail leases that are due to expire over the period to December 2015 will inevitably offer retailers an opportunity to vacate poorer performing locations.''

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