BRC/SPRINGBOARD: Footfall in August 1.6% lower than a year ago

  • Footfall in August was 1.6% lower than a year ago, down from the 1.1% fall in July. This was below the three-month average of -1.4%.
  • Both High Streets and Shopping Centres reported a decline, falling 2.3% and 2.8% respectively. Footfall in Shopping Centres is now the lowest since January excluding Easter distortions.
  • Footfall in Retail Park locations increased 1.7% year-on-year. This is the slowest increase since May 2015 and significantly below the three-month average of 2.5%.
  • Nine regions and countries reported a decline in footfall, four of which had a footfall rate lower than the UK average.
  • The East Midlands was the only region to report positive footfall growth, albeit marginally (0.04%).

LONDON, 2015-9-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “The continued decline in footfall in shopping centres and on the high street is disappointing, but not surprising. The fact that the number of visitors to retail parks has dipped below the three month average is also a clear sign of a lack-lustre August. However, it is worth noting that these figures do not take into account the last two days of August (the Sunday and Bank holiday Monday) which will, hopefully, add some cheer to the numbers in September.

“These numbers are a clear demonstration of the continued pressures the UK retail industry is facing. We know that retailers are steadily maintaining sales but at lower prices and to fewer people visiting physical stores.

“As we start the long march to Christmas, retailers will want to see an increase in shopper numbers in all store locations. Most will also be hoping for a decrease in any financial or regulatory burdens heading their way from government. These only make the job of getting the right products to UK consumers at the right price harder at a time when the hurdles to running a successful retail business are high enough.”

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, said: “It is clear that high streets and shopping centres are under increasing pressure once again – August was the third month in a row in which footfall in high streets dropped by more than 2 per cent, and this has been the case in shopping centres for the past five months.

“Footfall in retail parks continued its inexorable rise, albeit at a lower rate than in both July this year and in August last year. However, this is likely to be just a short term hiatus, as August this year only included the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend when footfall increased by 3 per cent compared with a rise of more than 6 per cent over the Sunday and Monday. So the probability is that in September UK footfall will bounce back from the -1.6 per cent recorded in this August to at least equal the more modest 0.9 per cent drop recorded in September 2014.”

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

SOURCE: British Retail Consortium