Heatwave burns July footfall on the high street

Down Your High Street

UK retailers suffered a major set back from the recent spate of hot weather, with footfall in July plunging 10.8 per cent compared to the same month of 2017.

According to the monthly Retail Traffic Index, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, despite the footfall gap on last year widening in July, the three-month trend has narrowed to a decline of 9.1 per cent.

This marked an improvement since its poorest performance between March to May, when it plummeted 11 per cent.

July still delivered the seasonal summer peak in footfall, with a 3.4 per cent increase when compared to the previous month of June.

Meanwhile, London and the South East again delivered the poorest regional performance, with footfall falling 15.9 per cent year-on-year.

“Following an improving high street performance over the last couple of months, July’s footfall figures will be very disappointing news for retailers,” Ipsos retail intelligence director Dr Time Denison said.

“We had expected the recovery to continue, but any feel-good factor from the hot weather and summer of sport failed to materialise on the high street.

“With the base rate hike, subdued pay awards and consumer confidence languishing, retail spending is unlikely to get any stronger for the remainder of this year.

“We are also now at 20 profit warnings among listed retailers for 2018, twice the number of 2017 – underlining just how tough both trading conditions and the costs associated with structural changes are impacting the sector.”

The Retail Traffic Index is derived from the number of shoppers entering over 4000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

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