Warm weather and online sales hit footfall during September

Monday, 20 October 2014
Footfall during the month of September dropped 0.9 percent year-on-year, as unseasonable warm weather is said to have delayed consumers fall/winter wardrobe shopping, according to the latest data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.

The 0.9 percent drop was a slight improvement from the 1.1 percent decline reported in August, but is still in line with the three-month average of a 0.9 percent fall. “September’s footfall figures are a bit of a mixed bag. Out-of-town footfall continues to grow compared to last year which shows that consumers are increasingly confident,” commented Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General.

“The UK result for September belies the impact on footfall of the unusually warm weather,” added Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard. “ The drop in footfall of 0.9 per cent is modest and better than the drop of 1.1 per cent recorded in August, however, if the weather had been more akin to the norm for this time of year it is likely the result would have been far more favorable.”

Shopping centers appear to have been hit the hardest, recoding the biggest decline since October 2013; a 2.6 percent drop whilst high-street footfall dropped 0.6 percent. Out-of-town locations reported the only increase in footfall last month, 0.5 percent higher than one year ago.

“Being dominated by fashion – and the fact that it was fashion sales that were the hardest hit - it is not surprising that the greatest toll is on shopping centres, although the degree of increase in footfall in out of town locations that we have come to expect is also greatly reduced,” added Wehrle.

“Whilst out of town locations still recorded a positive result in September, the fact that the increase in footfall is by far the most modest of any month in 2014 suggests this channel has felt the impact of the poor performance in fashion - a strong indicator that their success now also hinges on this sector.’’

Dickinson added: “As online sales increase overall we can see how shopping is changing and retailers are adapting. The industry is working hard on providing great online shopping experiences for consumers and this too impacts footfall. However, with Christmas fast approaching footfall is only set to increase on the high street, out-of-town and in shopping centres.’’

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