BRC/SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL MONITOR DECEMBER 2014: Footfall in December 0.7% down on a year ago

LONDON, 2015-1-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Footfall in December was 0.7% down on a year ago, up on the 2.4% fall in November and below the three-month average of a 1.3% decline. Out-of-Town reported the only rise, 1.3% higher than a year ago and has experienced positive footfall growth for every month in 2014. Footfall in shopping centres was 0.1% down on the previous year for December. This is be lowest fall in footfall since Jan-14. All regions and countries with the exception of South East (3.4%), East (2.2%), Scotland (1.6%) and Northern Ireland (1.4%) reported declining footfall.

BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: “A decline of 1.8 per cent in the number of high street shoppers might not at first glance look like great news for retailers but it’s heartening to see the pace of decline in High Street footfall slowing so dramatically from November to December. This is undoubtedly a result of the continuing changes in the way we all prefer to shop. It’s worth noting that fewer shoppers doesn’t necessarily equal poorer sales – in fact, we know that sales have been strong across the Christmas period. This tells us that retailers are getting to grips with the way people’s shopping habits are changing and using methods like click-and-collect to drive internet traffic toward physical stores while, at the same time, targeting discounts to encourage higher sales. What we are seeing currently is the online and physical retailing finding out how they best fit together in the new multi-channel world.”

Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Footfall across the UK in December belied the prevailing furore over the impact on bricks and mortar stores of both Black Friday and the move to online shopping, with just a modest drop of 0.7 per cent from December 2013. Retail Parks finished the year as they began with an increase in footfall, albeit that the increase in footfall in out of town locations has been on a downward trajectory since the largest rise of 5.7 per cent was recorded in January. The most positive result, however, is that footfall in both high streets and shopping centres is in an improved position compared with both November and with December last year. Indeed, the drop in high street footfall of 1.8 per cent is half the decline recorded in December 2013, and the 0.1 per cent drop in shopping centres is both a significant improvement on the 1.5 per cent recorded in December last year and the most modest decrease of any month this year.

“Whilst online shopping becomes ever more mature, and shoppers are increasingly demanding in terms of choice and flexibility to buy, the improved footfall position of our retail destinations in what is our peak trading period of the year indicates that online is driving activity back into bricks and mortar stores. As yet it is inconclusive as to the relative influence of showrooming and click and collect in the omni-channel experience, but what is clear is that if retailers want shoppers to continue to visit their stores then ever more investment is required to deliver the heightened shopping experience that is now demanded.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP.
020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

Majority of Americans are optimistic about the economy thanks to the continuing slide in gas prices, NACS survey

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-1-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — For the first time in two years, a majority of Americans are optimistic about the economy, thanks to the continuing slide in gas prices. A survey of gas consumers found that 57% of Americans are optimistic, including nearly two-thirds (65%) of those ages 18-34.

The levels of consumer optimism are the highest measured in the more than two years that consumer sentiment has been measured by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Consumers are obviously pleased with the continued falling price of gasoline. Almost nine in ten consumers (88%) say gas prices are lower today than they were last month, and they report that gas prices are 50 cents per gallon lower than they were 30 days ago.

Looking forward, consumers are evenly split about where gas prices will go from here. Nearly one in three (31%) say gas prices will be lower next month, which also is the largest percentage recorded. However, an equal number (31%) expect gas prices to go up over the next month. There is an interesting regional split when it comes to expectations of price: those in the Northeast are more likely to expect gas prices to fall (37% expect prices to go down vs. 21% who expect prices to go up), while those in the Midwest expect gas prices to go up (43% expect prices to go up versus 22% who expect prices to go down).

It remains to be seen if lower gas prices will result in more spending or driving. One in four consumers (24%) say that they will drive more this month, significantly higher than the 19% who said so each of the previous three months. However, only 16% of consumers say that they will spend more (excluding gas purchases) this month, while 25% say that they will spend less.

“Consumers generally pay down expenses in January after holiday spending so it’s not surprising that they may not shop more as gas prices fall. But if consumers do, in fact, travel more this month it would be a significant departure from previous years when January travel tended to fall off after the holidays and as winter weather keeps people indoors more,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS’ vice president of strategic initiatives.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,108 gas consumers were surveyed Jan. 6-8, 2015. Summary results are at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Anna Ready appointed director government relations at NACS

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-1-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Anna Ready has joined NACS as director, government relations.  Ready will be lobbying and assisting in the continued success of NACS political engagement and grassroots initiatives.

Ready previously served as vice president of Sentinel Strategic Advisors, where she oversaw a vast client portfolio and focused on PAC development and grassroots political engagement. She previously worked for the Gula Graham Group, one of the largest D.C.-based fundraising firms, and on Capitol Hill in the offices of Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-4) and Congressman Gresham Barrett (SC-3).

Ready graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science from Furman University in South Carolina.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.