SHOPPERS have been flocking to Scotland's stores after the Indian Summer gave the high street a welcome boost.

Retailers welcomed a new report which shows that September was the best month since February this year - excluding Easter - for footfall, the number of people going into stores.

Despite a 0.8 per cent drop on the same month last year, the figures have been described as "relatively pleasing" by industry experts, while retail outlets claimed they have experienced strong trading.

Christine Macdonald, marketing manager for intu Braehead, said: “Many of our retailers reported strong trading figures during September.

“We are expecting footfall to be particularly strong from now until the end of the year with new stores due to open soon and of course, the many events and attractions we put on for shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.”

The figures were published in the monthly Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) Springboard Footfall Monitor report.

It showed that the September figure was an improvement on the 1.6 per cent fall in August.

Across the whole of the UK, footfall was down 0.2%. Three regions reported positive footfall growth in September, with the greatest rise seen in the East Midlands. All other regions and countries reported footfall below the UK average.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "Shopper footfall in Scotland wilted once again in September, albeit at a less pronounced rate than the month before and also when contrasted to the average of the past three months.

"Retailers and shopping destinations are clearly going to have to work harder to attract custom, no doubt through a blend of improvements to areas including service, ranges, pricing and promotions.

"With the clock ticking down towards big upcoming announcements on the UK and devolved budgets in a few weeks' time retailers' will be looking for convincing action from the Chancellor and Scotland's Finance Secretary to improve consumer confidence, as well as steadfast resistance to the relentless rise in government-inspired cost pressures which have been witnessed of late or are under consideration.

"Rising costs divert and exhaust resources which otherwise would be used to grow the business."

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, added: "The perfect autumn weather, additional bank holiday trading day and the lowest UK vacancy rate for two years are key drivers behind relatively pleasing figures for September.

"In Scotland, the drop of 0.8% was the best annual change for the past five months, and across the UK a drop of 0.2% in footfall was the best year-on-year performance since March and the second best performing month over the last 17 months."

The figures come after a report last week revealed five stores a week closed across Scotland in the first six months of the year.

Only Perth and Edinburgh saw an increase in the number of shops, with both cities gaining one extra shop in that time when compared with the first half of 2014.

While Falkirk suffered the biggest loss of nine stores, closely followed by Glasgow which lost seven.

Coffee shops, charity shops and takeaway outlets were among those growing at the fastest rate while cheque cashing, banks and fashion retailers all suffered.

SOURCE: Herald Scotland

The figures were compiled by PwC which said the high street was feeling the continuing impact of the growth in online retailing.

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