UK retail footfall finally saw an increase of 0.3% year-on-year in May from a 2.4% decline in April, according to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard’s monthly footfall monitor.
High street footfall rose by 1.2% after a 4.7% drop in April. May’s results were the best high street footfall recorded since July 2013, excluding Easter disruptions.
Retail park footfall also increased by 1.2%. However, shopping centre footfall fell by 2.1%.
“With total footfall figures up and High Streets seeing a reversal in fortunes, today’s figures offer some respite from the relentless downward trend we’ve seen building in recent months” said BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson.
“However, we know from our recent data that it’s online, rather than stores, that has driven May’s sales upturn. Footfall up and store sales down gives credence to the trend of an increasing use of the high street for leisure activities and the researching of purchases made online either later or on the move through mobile devices.”
Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, added “the figures show the month’s footfall increase emanated from a 4.7% rise in the first week of the month stimulated by the May bank holiday weekend. For the rest of the month, footfall dropped by an average of 1.1% in the remaining three weeks”.
“This is only the 14th time over the last six years that footfall has risen, and over this period footfall increased in two consecutive months only twice. We would need to see at least a three-month increase in footfall to indicate the upward trend spells anything more than a break in the clouds. With the uncertainty created by the EU referendum affecting consumer confidence, it will be challenging for this three month trend to establish just now.”