Footfall figures “do very little to raise the spirits of retailers”

Down Your High Street

High street footfall saw the biggest month-on-month drop in 13 years in February, amid a similar drop in retail sales.

New figures from the Ipsos Retail Performance‘s Retail Traffic Index (RTI) have shown that footfall fell by 12.5 per cent in February compared with a month prior, and 6.5 per cent compared to 2016.

Footfall fell in every region across the UK for the first time since September, with the north worst hit year-on-year with a fall of 8.9 per cent, while the south east and London saw the worst decline month-on-month with a 16.2 per cent decline.

“For what is often considered the most depressing month of the year, these footfall figures will do very little to raise the spirits of retailers,” Ipos retail performance director Dr Tim Denison said.

READ MORE: Retail sales fall for first time in 6 years

“Throughout 2016 the economy was strengthened by consumer spending. The question on every retailer’s lips should be how long this continues to be the GDP’s mainstay.

“Rising inflation propelled by higher food and energy prices in tandem with static wage growth will at some point no doubt hit retail sales and footfall.

“It’s likely that the knock-on effect of a slowing economy will trickle down to the shop tills in a transient way, and is unlikely to manifest itself until the second half of the year.”

This comes after yesterday’s news that retail sales also fell for the first time in six years, with British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson predictding that “tougher times” ahead.

“The impact of inflation on consumer spending will add further intensity to an already fiercely competitive environment in which the ability to adapt and innovate will be key to survival,” she said.

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