UK shopper footfall dropped by 3 million last year - report
Footfall to the UK’s physical stores fell by 4.2% in the 12 months to last November and while that might not seem very much, it adds up to three million fewer shopper visits and three million fewer opportunities to sell the latest collections. Figures from Ipsos and ABC Finance underscored just how tough UK retail is at the moment.
The footfall drop was partly behind the closure of 1,300 stores since January 2018. And of course, it’s also behind job losses at companies including New Look, Debenhams and House of Fraser.
And more in-depth analysis of the Ipsos figures up to November last year showed that Wales and the South West were the hardest hit with a football drop of an astonishing 9.2%. That’s seriously bad news in a single 12-month period.
Other regions to struggle included Scotland and Northern Ireland with footfall down 5.5%. The West Midlands recorded a 4.6% drop but the decline in London and the South East was only 3.1%. Northern England got off the lightest though as it saw just a 0.5% drop.
Research from ABC Finance also said that over seven million square feet of retail space is currently empty in the UK and it’s predicting the figure will continue to rise.
Fashion was one of the categories that saw more closures than openings last year, as was footwear. However, beauty salons and specific nail salons continued to see a larger number of openings than closures.
The ABC report also said that 75% of adults are saddened by the decline of physical shopping even though 38% admitted that they now do most of their shopping online. And 20% go shopping in physical stores very infrequently (their store visits are months apart). That said, over 56% of consumers ABC spoke to claim to prefer to spend money with local independents rather than large chains.
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