The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has praised Glasgow City Council’s plans for a £9 million shopper stimulus scheme as a means of aiding lower income households and the city’s high streets and stores which have been left reeling by the pandemic and weak economy.

Retail in Scotland has been thwacked hard by the impact of Covid. Retail sales growth is tepid, store vacancies remain elevated, and shopper footfall is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Glasgow’s shopper footfall in May was 12% lower than the comparable period prior to Covid.

The SRC believes that a retail voucher or high street stimulus scheme should be considered for elsewhere in Scotland, as a means of re-igniting consumer spending and transactions. Northern Ireland and Jersey introduced voucher schemes in the second half of last year to pep up their economies emerging from Covid.

The Glasgow scheme is aimed at benefitting 85,000 households this summer by providing them with a £105 voucher or gift card.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:

“This is a bold and imaginative plan from Glasgow city council to help less well-off households and give a much needed shot in the arm to the city’s consumer-facing economy. It has been a difficult two years for retail destinations which have been left reeling by the impact of the pandemic, associated government restrictions and economic uncertainty. Shops will only survive with the patronage of the public and questions remain over what demand will look like for the remainder of the year given the cost of living crunch. This shopper stimulus scheme should boost retail in the city and may even trigger additional spending by shoppers beyond the value of the voucher transaction, creating an even larger economic multiplier.”