Scotland records poorrest performing retail sector of any UK region
Footfall on Scotland's high streets dropped by nearly a fifth last month compared with April 2011 new figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) suggest.
The SRC said footfall dropped by 19.1 per cent compared with April of last year – the biggest drop of any UK region.
And the number of Scottish shoppers was also down by the highest percentage of any UK region- 12.6 per cent - compared with a fall of two per cent reported for the UK as a whole in April.
Shop vacancy rates in Scotland fell slightly to nine per cent in April from 9.1 per cent reported in January.
Scotland's high street was the hardest hit of any region in the UK in April, followed by East London and Greater London.
SRC director Ian Shearer said: “"This survey tallies with a number of other indicators showing Scottish shoppers cutting back significantly compared with a year ago.
“It can only be a concern that over the last quarter Scotland has shown the biggest drop in footfall of any part of the UK.
"Some of that has been about one-off seasonal and weather factors but the essential picture remains of consumers lacking confidence, disposable incomes still being squeezed and fewer people shopping for anything that isn't an immediate need.
“Retailers are very much looking for some optimism returning when the sun does, and around this summer's major events.
"Nine per cent of shops in Scotland are standing empty, and there are some good signs that this is slightly better than last summer and than other parts of the UK, but vacancies are still high.
“In common with others in the property sector we don't believe the current proposals to cut empty property rates relief are the right approach for stimulating new investment in our high streets.”