Scottish Daily Mail

Shop­pers are still snub­bing high streets

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THE num­ber of shop­pers on Scot­land’s high streets has slumped for the sixth month in a row as re­tail­ers pre­pare for the cru­cial Christ­mas sea­son.

Fig­ures pub­lished to­day show a 0.6 per cent de­cline in ‘foot­fall’ in Oc­to­ber, com­pared to a 0.2 per cent fall across the UK.

It is thought more Scots are now shop­ping on the in­ter­net.

The fig­ures have sparked calls for Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne and Fi­nance Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney to end ‘the re­lent­less rise in Gov­ern­ment-in­spired cost pres­sures’.

Mr Os­borne is due to un­veil his Au­tumn State­ment on Novem­ber 25, while Mr Swin­ney’s 2016 Bud­get is on De­cem­ber 16.

The Scot­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium wants the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to over­haul the £2.8bil­lion busi­ness rates sys­tem.

Direc­tor David Lons­dale said: ‘Scot­land’s re­tail­ers are in­creas­ingly adept at har­ness-

‘Re­lent­less rise in cost pres­sures’

ing the in­ter­net and multi-chan­nel in­no­va­tions to get through to con­sumers who might not have time to travel to the shops.

‘With the clock tick­ing down to­wards the Chan­cel­lor’s Au­tumn State­ment and the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary’s Scot­tish Bud­get in a few weeks’ time, re­tail­ers will be look­ing for con­vinc­ing ac­tion to bol­ster con­sumer con­fi­dence and also stem the re­lent­less rise in Gov­ern­ment-in­spired cost pres­sures.’

He said these in­clude the new higher min­i­mum wage, busi­ness rate rises and higher em­ployer pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions.

Foot­fall is cal­cu­lated every month by Spring­board, which car­ries out more than 60mil­lion counts each week at 600 lo­ca­tions in nearly 150 UK towns and cities.

To­day’s fig­ures also show 8.7 per cent of Scot­land’s shops are empty, a fall from 10.6 per cent in the pre­vi­ous quar­ter.

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