- Footfall in October was 0.2% lower than a year ago, unchanged from the decline in September. This was above the three-month average of -0.6%.
- Footfall in retail park locations increased 2.9% year-on-year. This is below September’s high of 4.0%.
- High Streets and Shopping Centres reported a decline in footfall of 1.0% and 1.3% respectively.
- Four regions in England reported positive footfall growth in October, the East Midlands continuing its strong performance.
- The national town centre vacancy rate was 9.1% in October 2015, down from the 9.8% rate reported in July 2015. This is the lowest reported rate since we began reporting the data in July 2011.
LONDON, 2015-11-16 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, BRC Chief Executive, said: “The locations consumers are choosing to shop remains in a state of flux. While the rate of decline in footfall across high streets and shopping centres appears to have stabilised, more and more shoppers are choosing to visit retail parks which offer a greater mix of leisure and retail.
“There is a little cheer in the news that vacancies have fallen once again. However in order for this good news to be sustainable, action is urgently needed to reform business rates. Otherwise the new occupants of these premises will, in the not too distant future, find themselves struggling under the weight of ballooning bills. If the burden of business rates continues to grow as it has in the past, today’s vacancy figure may become but a distant, happy memory. Action now will ensure our high streets remain vibrant and viable long into the future.”
Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, said: “October is fast becoming an important ‘look and compare’ month for shoppers ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is driving up footfall across all retail destinations. Footfall may have remained relatively unchanged for October from September but over the last two years as the importance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday grows, we are seeing a significant increase in footfall for the month of October from -2.9 per cent in 2013 to -0.8 per cent in 2014 and this month’s -0.2 per cent.
“Additionally the UK vacancy rate of 9.1 per cent is the lowest on record [since July 2011] and this is undoubtedly helping retain footfall across all retail destinations – this is a longer trend to watch.
“This contrasts with expectations at the beginning of the year, when the unprecedented number of retail leases expiring this year suggested that the vacancy rate would increase. However, after a long period of recession and low demand for additional space from retailers, alongside the growth of leisure and food and beverage and multi-channel shopping, landlords have been forced into being more flexible about who they are prepared to accept as tenants and on what terms – no longer able to demand the strength of covenant they were once able to, we are now seeing a broadening of occupier types in high streets and shopping centres which can only be for the good.”
British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. firstname.lastname@example.org.