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UK footfall slumps in June, shopping centres suffer

Published
today Jul 15, 2019
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The word “slump” isn’t what we like to read when we get a new report about consumer footfall to non-food retail stores. But that’s what the headline was on Monday as the BRC and Springboard issued their latest monthly report.


Summer footfall has been weak to UK stores


The figures for June (actually the five weeks from May 26 to June 29) saw a 2.9% drop in visitor traffic to stores year-on-year. June 2018 had seen a decline, but it was only 0.9% back then.

Back with this year, on a three-month basis, footfall decreased by 2.4% and the six- and 12-month averages are -1.3% and -1.7% respectively.

The figures for last month showed a similar pattern to the one we’ve been seeing for some time with retail parks the strongest destinations while shopping centres and high streets continued their regular swapping of positions to win the prize for the weakest destination.

This time high streets took that unwanted prize. High street footfall declined by 4.5% following on from the increase of a tiny 0.1% in June last year. The three-month average decline is 3.5%.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 2.4%, although at least that wasn’t as bad as June 2018’s decline of 3.4%. But when you add those two figures together, it shows that visitor traffic is down significantly compared to the same month in 2017. The three-month average decline is running at 2.7%.

Meanwhile retail parks offered a tiny crumb of comfort with their footfall up 0.1%, although that failed to reverse the June 2018 footfall decrease of 0.4%. The three-month average growth is 0.5%.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director, said of all this: “The drop in June is disappointing. However, given the exceptional and ongoing disruptive political and economic period we are facing, coupled with unprecedented structural changes in the retail sector, we might actually expect consumer activity to have taken an even greater hit. In reality, the drop in footfall of 1.4% for the year to date is still an improvement on the drop of 2.1% over the same period last year, so in context, footfall performance has shown more resilience over the year to date than expected.”

She also said that while high streets suffered, “the continuing and growing demand from consumers for experience meant that in regional cities — which by virtue of the sheer breadth and depth of their offer means they can deliver on experience — footfall was far more resilient, declining only very marginally by 0.6%.”

The same was true for shopping centres with the largest locations seeing a drop of only 0.5% and those with a strong dining offer being down only 0.1%.

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