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Retail footfall up for first time in 5 months

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Retail footfall in the UK increased on an annual basis for the first time since January 2011 last month, but new research shows that the number of people heading to the high street varies significantly by region.

According to the Experian Retail Footfall Index the number of people visiting retail centres nationwide in June grew 0.2 per cent year-on-year and 2.4 per cent month-on-month.

Whereas shopper numbers were up 1.8 and 1.3 per cent in the south-west & Wales and London respectively, they were down 3.8, 3.4 and 0.4 per cent in England’s north-west, east and north-west.

Experian Footfall said that although trading increased in June, the situation on the high street is still very tough for retailers with many traders’ margins down due to the escalating levels of promotional activity needed to encourage spending.

“This year’s increase is largely due to suppressed numbers from last year, when shoppers were staying away from the high street in favour of watching the World Cup matches, so in reality the growth is merely catching up with levels of Footfall in 2009,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“June normally sees increased footfall compared to May as a result of half-term week, summer sales and Father’s Day - the pattern continues this year.”

Last month was a particularly brutal one for UK retailers with a number of well-known names collapsing due to a mixture of the slow sales environment, inability to keep up with payments, and in some cases poor management.

Fashion retailer Jane Norman, value department store chain TJ Hughes and homeware specialist Habitat all collapsed, resulting in a plethora of redundancies and soon-to-be-empty stores.

Although competitors have been quick to snap up some of their rivals’ outlets, negotiations remain ongoing between administrators and potential purchasers regarding the future of other sites, causing huge uncertainty across the retail workforce.

Published on Friday 08 July by Editorial Assistant

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