A report by the British Retail Consortium has shown that footfall improved in September.
Although in September footfall was 0.2% lower than the same period last year, it improved on the 1.6% footfall in August. This was above the three month average of -0.9%.
September footfall in retail park locations increased 4.0% year-on-year – the highest figure since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions.
High Streets and Shopping Centres reported a decline in footfall of 1.4% and 1.3% respectively. This is High Streets best performance for seven months, excluding Easter distortions.
Three regions reported positive footfall growth in September, with the greatest rise seen in the East Midlands. All other regions and countries reported footfall below the UK average
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, says: “Retail parks continue to offer shoppers a full leisure experience and are already seeing strong increases in footfall. Retailers who have invested in stores in these locations will be hoping the draw remains strong throughout the winter months.
“The overall decline in shopper numbers across the UK now stands at 0.2 per cent – a marked improvement from last August’s 1.6 per cent fall. UK High Streets are showing their best figures for seven months with the footfall decline slowing to just 1.4 per cent. This may offer a small crumb of comfort to retailers who will be hoping that this signals the end of shoppers deserting the high street and raise hopes of their return, especially with Christmas on the horizon.
“Making High Streets more attractive for customers will be crucial in the countdown to Christmas and beyond. Where greater local decision making can support this it will be welcomed. However if greater devolution only serves to push up costs and confuse customers then this would do more harm than good at a critical time for the industry.”
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at springboard, adds: “The perfect Autumn weather, additional bank holiday trading day and lowest vacancy rate for two years are key drivers behind relatively pleasing figures for September. The drop in footfall of 0.2 per cent across the UK was the best year-on-year performance since March, and the second best month over the last 17 months. Perfect seasonal weather is vital to high street fashion sales, with over a quarter of retailers we asked (26.8 per cent) confirming that they brought forward store drops of Autumn/Winter stock this season. Together with the additional bank holiday trading day, this boosted overall sales of outerwear and accessories, including footwear.”