June footfall suffers “summer slump”

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June footfall
// Overall UK footfall declined by 2.9% in June, compared this time last year when it declined 0.9%
// High Street footfall declined by 4.5%, compared to an increase of 0.1% in June last year
// Retail Park footfall increased by 0.1%, compared to 0.4% in June 2018
// Shopping Centre footfall declined by 2.4%, following June 2018’s decline of 3.4%.

Shoppers avoided the high streets in droves last month, as a significant drop in visitors to the UK’s town centres contributed to an overall “summer slump” in footfall for June.

According to the latest BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, footfall declined by 2.9 per cent in June.

This compares to the same point last year when it declined by 0.9 per cent, and is slightly worse the three-month average of a 2.4 per cent decline.

High streets were the worst affected shopping hubs, with footfall sliding by 4.5 per cent – compared to the increase of 0.1 per cent in June last year.

It’s also lower than the three-month average decline of 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall declined 2.4 per cent, although this was an improvement on June 2018’s decline of 3.4 per cent and also better than the three-month average decline of 2.7 per cent.

Retail parks bucked the trend, with footfall increasing by 0.1 per cent, compared to last year’s decrease of 0.4 per cent.

However, it’s still slightly below the three-month average growth is 0.5 per cent.

The BRC and Springboard attributed the footfall slump to the gloomy June weather, combined with tough comparisons to 2018 had June footfall benefited from the World Cup and sunny weather.

“Poor footfall this June led to a significant fall in the sales figures for the month,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“High streets were worst hit by the relatively poor June weather, with shopping centres also performing badly, however, retail parks managed to buck the trend.

“Last year’s World Cup and glorious sunshine set a high bar, which 2019’s slow consumer spending and Brexit uncertainty failed to live up to.”

Despite the overall decline, June’s figures represented a month-on-month improvement on May’s figures, which saw footfall down 3.5 per cent on the same month in 2018.

The BRC also revealed last week that high street sales in June fell by their biggest margin on record as shoppers sat on their hands over Brexit uncertainty.

Total sales fell 1.3 per cent in June – the worst June since records began in 1995, or 1.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis, according to the BRC and KPMG’s monthly retail sales update.

“Given the exceptional and ongoing disruptive political and economic period we are facing coupled with unprecedented structural changes in the retail sector, we might actually expect consumer activity to have taken an even greater hit,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.

“In reality, the drop in footfall of 1.4 per cent for the year-to-date is still an improvement on the drop of 2.1 per cent over the same period last year, so in context footfall performance has shown more resilience over the year to date than expected.

“It was clearly high streets and shopping centres that bore the brunt of consumers railing back on their shopping trips, whilst retail parks maintained their customer base.

“However, whilst footfall in high streets across the UK dropped by 4.5 per cent in June, the continuing and growing demand from consumers for experience meant that in regional cities – which by virtue of the sheer breadth and depth of their offer means they can deliver on experience – footfall was far more resilient, declining only very marginally by -0.6 per cent.”

Wehrle added that the same rule of “experience delivering results” also applied for shopping centres.

“In the largest centres of more than half a million sq ft the [footfall] drop was just 0.5 per cent, and only 0.1 per cent in those largest centres with a strong dining offer.

“So it is clear that consumer demand is polarised between convenience and accessibility provided so effectively by retail parks, and consumers’ craving for experience, driving them towards larger retail destinations.”

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