BRC Springboard: Footfall plummets in every region

May footfall
// BRC-Springboard research finds footfall suffers largest monthly drop on record
// All regions faced decline
// Shoppers extra cautious of spending after work with biggest dip at 5pm

Footfall dropped by 3.5 per cent in May, as the UK experienced what the BRC Springboard tracker has called “the worst footfall figures in six years” with declines in every region.

High streets, retail parks and shopping centres all suffered in May, which contributed to the largest drop on BRC Springboard’s records.

“The colder weather, as well as ongoing political and economic uncertainty, made many consumers think twice before heading out to the shops this May” said British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson.

High street visits declined by 4.8 per cent on the back of a 0.5 per cent increase in May last year. The three-month average decline is 0.8 per cent.

Meanwhile retail park footfall was down by 0.8 per cent after a 0.6 per cent drop in May 2018. Shopping centre footfall declined by 3.6 per cent after May 2018’s decline of 2.9 per cent.

“The 3.5 per cent drop in footfall in UK bricks and mortar destinations in May is a poor result and is consistent with the drop in sales for the month,” said Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle.

“However, we should note the year on year comparisons are off the back of a particularly strong result in May last year of 0.4 per cent which was boosted by warm weather and special events and followed on from a challenging April marred by bad weather and loss of seasonal sales due to the early March Easter.”

Looking into the reasons behind the drop in shoppers, Wehrle added:

“All destination types found it much tougher this May to attract customers, but the fact that the greatest impact was felt by high streets with a drop in footfall of 4.8 per cent is not a surprise given the much poorer weather than in May last year.  

“Footfall worsened across all parts of the day, but the most significant drop occurred post 5pm, moving from a rise of 1.9 per cent in May last year to a decline of 4.5 per cent this year. 

“It is clear that consumers are being ever more discerning in their dining habits, and recent failures in the sector indicate both the level of competition and suggests that the everyday dining operators need to provide a more tempting food offer keep customers for the post 5pm spend slot,” said Wehrle.

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