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Wednesday 18 September 2019

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Retail footfall falters in August

Written by Peter Walker
09/09/19

Footfall declined by 1.3 per cent in August, compared to a 1.6 per cent drop at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. On a three-month basis, footfall decreased by 2.1 per cent.

High Street footfall declined by 1.9 per cent, following from the decrease of two per cent in August last year.

Retail park footfall was up by one per cent last month, compared to a 0.3 per cent rise during the same month in 2018.

However, shopping centre footfall fell by 2.2 per cent, following a decline of 2.4 per cent last August.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that the long-term trend, which has seen footfall decline by an average of 1.7 per cent over the last 12 months, reflects the fact that increasingly cautious consumers are holding back on discretionary spending and not heading out to the shops.

“There is little sign that the stresses on retail will abate any time soon,” she commented. “Stuck between weak demand thanks to Brexit uncertainty, and rising costs resulting from business rates and other public policy costs, many retailers are clearly struggling.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s marketing and insights director, pointed out that in the face of weak consumer confidence and declining sales, a drop in footfall of 1.3 per cent in August was not unexpected.

“We must remember that declining footfall is a long term trend with annual increases being the exception rather than the rule, indeed, footfall has declined in every year since Springboard started publishing its national data in January 2009.

“On a positive note, August had the strongest footfall over the summer months, and it was also an improvement on last year when footfall declined by 1.6 per cent,” noted Wehrle. “This month’s result was bolstered by the final week of the month, when the hottest August bank holiday on record improved footfall from minus 1.4 per cent to minus 0.6 per cent.”


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