Scotland was one of just four areas in the UK to see a rise in shopper numbers in December, according to data from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).
Footfall on Scottish high streets was up by 6.2 per cent in December compared to a year ago, and up on the 2 per cent fall the previous month.
The figures from the SRC Springboard Footfall monitor indicate Scotland’s high streets are faring considerably better than the rest of the UK, where shopper numbers were down by an average 1.2 per cent.
The West Midlands (10 per cent), Greater London (3.1 per cent) and Northern Ireland also saw increased footfall during December, compared with the previous year.
The hardest-hit areas were Wales (-11.5 per cent) the East of England (-7.1 per cent) and the North and Yorkshire (-4.8 per cent), where significant year-on-year falls were seen.
Fiona Moriarty, director of the SRC, said: “Scotland saw the second best rate of footfall growth of any part of the UK in December. That’s a really positive result and bears out the optimism of our sales figures last week, with growth in line with the rest of the UK for the first time in nearly two years.”
“While tough times in the economy are far from over, it seems that many of us are acclimatising to the new realities – difficult is the new norm. The signs are that many people planned ahead for Christmas so that they didn’t have to keep an excessively tight rein on their festive shopping.”
“With the post- Christmas sales still in full swing, retailers will be hoping that this boost to shopper numbers sustains some momentum in January’s figures.”
Despite the positive figures, Scottish paper the Daily Record reported that 100 national and regional store chains were still at high risk of going under, with specialist bookshops and stationers at particular risk from supermarket and online competition.