Overall UK retail footfall continues to decline

Monday, 16 June 2014
Retail footfall continues to weaken across the UK, with footfall during the month of May dropping 0.2 percent compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest data published by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard. Overall retail footfall fell slightly below the 0.1 percent dip in April last month, and was notably lower than the three-month average of a 0.6 percent increase. UK's shopping centers also noted a decline in the number of visitors, with a 1.5 percent drop on the previous year.

Retail sales increase despite decline in UK retail footfall

High streets also witnessed a visible drop in the number of shoppers last month, with retail footfall declining 0.9 percent on the last year for May. The only retail location to report an increase in footfall was out of town retail locations, which reported a 3.3 percent growth from last year.

“This is the second successive month that footfall has eased back a touch, compared to the same period last year. However actual retail sales over the period have risen, which points to the continuing impact and popularity of online shopping particularly in non-food categories,” commented Helen Dickinson, director general at BRC.

“Many retailers are increasingly adept at harnessing the internet and multi-channel innovations to get through to consumers who might not have time to travel to the shops. As we saw with our retail sales data released earlier this month, purchases of bigger ticket items...performed well. Out of town shopping locations have continued to do well as a result, recording a further strong uptick in footfall.”

According to the country and region footfall analysis, four regions region reported a decline in footfall; Greater London, with a 1.6 percent dip, the West Midlands, with a 2.3 percent decline, the East Midlands, with a 3 percent drop, and Wales with a 2.6 fall.

“The challenge faced by our retail destinations is continuing, with both a drop in footfall for a second month in a row, and an acceleration in the decline to 0.2 percent from 0.1 percent in April,” said Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard.

Out of town retail locations continues to report increase in footfall

“However, the drop is a consequence of high streets and shopping centres losing out to retail parks... indeed, retail parks have recorded increases in footfall in every month this year, which is levelling out at around 3 percent from last year. However, it also goes without saying that the month was severely hampered by poor trading performance over the two May bank holiday weekends.”

“The prevailing cautiousness amongst consumers means that the appeal of the retail park has inevitably had a negative impact on trips to other types of retail destination; alongside increases in footfall in retail parks in every month this year, footfall has dropped in high streets and shopping centres in four of the five months since January.’’

Photos: Shopping centers the Bullring in Birmingham and Westfield in London

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