Scotland business

Shoppers 'switch from town centres to internet'

Shopping mall Image copyright PA

Shoppers abandoned Scotland's town centres last month in favour of the internet, according to a report by retailers.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said footfall numbers were 4.2% down on a year ago.

It was the worst performance on record for nearly three years.

SRC said footfall was impacted by Black Friday promotions, which saw consumers opting to buy online instead of in stores.

In the UK as a whole, shopper numbers were 2.1% lower than a year ago.

'Fiscal dials'

SRC director David Lonsdale said: "Until the November data for Scottish retail sales is published later this week we won't know what impact this plunge in footfall and surge in online shopping has on the total value of sales.

"Those retailers with a strong multi-channel offer - allowing customers to shop in store, at home and on the move - will have been well placed to capitalise on this further milestone in the development of our digital economy.

"Retailers will be hoping that the finance minister's twiddling of the fiscal dials in the Scottish government's budget this week will help lift consumer spirits and generate greater levels of confidence and propensity to spend going forward."

He added: "The retail industry is undergoing profound structural change at a time of weak demand and falling shop prices, and this requires supportive government policies which keep a tight lid on costs such as business rates, other taxes and levies and regulation."

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