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High Street footfall declines for third month in a row

High Street Sales

Footfall on UK's high streets declined in September for the third month in succession, as retailers struggled to invest in their store propositions.

According to Springboard and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), footfall dropped 1.2% in the five weeks to 30th September, matching August’s decline as well as the three-month average, but coming well below the yearly average of a 0.4% decline.

The high street suffered the most with a 2.2% decline, although this was slightly better than the 2.6% decline in August. Shopping centres’ footfall decline increased from 0.8% in August to 1% in September. Meanwhile, retail parks saw growth once again, yet growth to 1.6% in September.

Northern Ireland suffered the sharpest drop in footfall in the UK, dropping 4.3%, while the south west of England and Greater London recorded a 2.4% and 0.9% drop respectively.

Scotland also saw its most significant decline since June 2016, dipping two per cent. The east of England once again pulled ahead, seeing growth of 1.9 per cent and was the only region to see positive growth on the high street at 0.4 per cent.

“September’s sales rose due to inflation, but the accelerating decline in footfall is a strong indicator of consumers railing back spending,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.

“Much is often made about the impact of weather, but with similar weather conditions to September 2016, this cannot be put forward as a driver.

“Aggressive early season sales indicate retailers are spooked, and they will be on edge with the six-week countdown now on to the start of the festive shopping season.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “There’s an urgent need to stall the growing number of retail locations, particularly in more vulnerable parts of the country, falling further and further behind by attracting shoppers to retail destinations with the right mix of products, experience and convenience.

“But this is where the conundrum lies for retailers: the growing cost of doing business leaves little to no wiggle room for investment in their store proposition.”

Source: Insight DIY Team

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17 October 2017

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