Footfall drops for first time since February

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Shopping Footfall

Footfall in May fell for the first time since February, as the post-Easter slowdown and poor weather conditions kept shoppers indoors.

New data from the BRC–Springboard Footfall Vacancies Monitor showed that footfall fell by one per cent year-on-year last month across all destinations.

The high street fared worst, seeing its steepest decline in footfall since June last year with a drop of two per cent, well below the three-month average of 0.8 per cent growth.

“The biggest movement was noticeable in the number of visitors to the high street, which after several months of growth, saw the steepest decline since June last year,” British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“In an uncertain economic climate, retailers will be looking to the next government to deliver on their commitment to fundamental reform of business rates; to implement a more sustainable system that allows for growth and investment.”

READ MORE: April’s footfall remained “largely positive” despite inflation

Elsewhere, retail parks saw growth of 1.5 per cent, although this still below the 1.8 per cent three-month average.

Shopping centres also saw a decline of 1.3 per cent, over double the three-month average decline of 0.5 per cent.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said this demonstrated a trend of “moderation” among shoppers.

“The slowing of growth in footfall post-5pm to 1.1 per cent in May from 3.5 per cent in May 2016 reflects this moderation, suggesting fewer shoppers opted to stay longer and eat out after their shopping trips; a concern for retail locations that have focused on expanding their food offer to grow shopper dwell time,” she said.

“The drop in footfall was mirrored by a drop of 3.7 per cent in UK sales as measured by Springboard’s sales index which tracks sales in bricks and mortar stores – with fashion spend in particular dipping in May.

“These are clear signals that consumers have started to display greater spending restraint.”

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