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BRC-Springboard: Retail Footfall Declined By 0.7% In January

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Data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard shows that UK total retail footfall declined by 0.7% in January (year-on-year).

High street footfall fell by 0.7% year-on-year, retail parks declined by 0.3% and shopping centres declined by 0.9% during the same reporting period.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:

“Footfall fell by less than the previous year as firms focused on in-store discounts – bringing relatively more people onto the streets. On the other hand the slight increase in the vacancy rate will be a cause for concern at many shopping destinations.

“The data reflects the underlying pressures which continue to challenge shops up and down the country. Retail is undergoing a seismic shift, with technology changing the way we shop. Consumers are making fewer visits to physical stores, choosing to research and pay for a greater proportion of their purchases online. This requires a reinvention of retail, with outlets investing in their physical space to encourage a more experience-led approach to shopping – something which is being held back by sky high business rates.”

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard: 

“We should not be persuaded that the drop in footfall in January of just -0.7% suggests trading conditions have stabilised. On closer interrogation, the clear fact is that all of this improvement emanates from the first week when footfall rose by +2.6% whilst dropping by an average of -2.1% over the three subsequent weeks. And in even in the first week the uplift was largely driven by one day - New Year’s Eve (Monday 31st December) - which showed an uplift of +151%; which again should be taken with a pinch of salt as it was compared against New Year’s Day In 2017 when trading hours were more limited and the weather was very poor.

“Despite the fact that the vacancy rate is a lagged and sticky indicator – trailing sales and footfall trends, and subject to the vagaries of lease lengths – in January it reflected the ongoing challenges faced by retailers and recent store closures. It rose for the second consecutive quarter, to 9.9% from 9.6% in October and 9.2% in July, and is now at the highest it has been since July 2016 when it rose to 10.1% from 9.6% in the previous quarter.

“The truth is that footfall in overall terms is still sliding, however, a slight glimmer of hope for retailers is that day time footfall – which accounts for around 70% of total footfall volume - rose by +0.6% in January driven by a greater increase of +5.4% in the first week, with a lesser average drop of just -1.1% between the second and fourth weeks.”

Source : Insight DIY Team

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11 February 2019

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