August footfall experiences worst deficit since July 2018

Hair and beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops and funeral directors are booming on the UK's high streets amid concerns for the future of some retailers.
The hardest hit sector was book and map sellers as consumers switched to Amazon.
// The new Retail Traffic Index for August shows a drop of -9.8% in UK store visits year-on-year
// This is the worst deficit since July 2018, according to Ipsos Retail Performance
// On a month-on-month basis, average weekly footfall in August was down by -5.4%

New data has indicated that footfall “took a holiday” during the month of August, after figures showed that in-store visits declined far more than anticipated.

According to the Retail Traffic Index, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, footfall numbers in the UK fell by 9.8 per cent against August 2018 despite a promising recovery in recent months.

Ipsos said the deficit recorded was the worst posted since July 2018.

Against July, average weekly footfall in the month was down by 5.4 per cent.

The figures were the most dramatic in London anjd the South East, where August’s numbers were down by 18.1 per cent year-on-year and 9.1 per cent on the previous month.

Ipsos said that expectations the first week August would represent the summer peak failed to materialise.

Instead, footfall peaked during the week commencing June 30, which was well in advance of the start of the school holidays.

This is the first time that this has happened since the RTI was launched in 2000.

“Just when we were believing that store footfall was on the mend, we unexpectedly hit a wash-out month,” Ipsos Retail Performance retail intelligence director Dr Tim Denison said.

“It was truly a mensis horribilis. August, as a month, didn’t exist in the Roman 10-month calendar, and you would be forgiven for thinking it took absence from the retail calendar this year.

“Drab weather for much of the month, and a mini-heat wave at its end, wouldn’t have helped.

“Soft footfall figures are often attributable to the weather, but the extent of the fall suggests there is more to it than just the weather.

The low regional figures suggest that London is becoming increasing like Paris; en vacances for long spells of the month.”

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