London, 2016-Oct-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — HELEN DICKINSON OBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM, SAID: “Total footfall was fractionally down this month with almost one per cent fewer people heading out to shopping locations across the UK. While in itself this isn’t the news retailers would hope for, taken with other retail industry data published this month it tells a fascinating story. At the same time as both footfall and shop prices have fallen year-on-year, retail spending grew in September by 1.3 per cent. This is a function of the changing face of retail and the hard work and innovation of British retail businesses who are responding brilliantly to technological advances and changing consumer habits.”
DIANE WEHRLE, MARKETING AND INSIGHTS DIRECTOR, SPRINGBOARD, SAID: “The headline result for the UK shows a slight worsening of footfall in September from August, but does not reveal the underlying trend that shopping centres are losing shopper numbers at a faster rate than high streets. Whilst the very warm and sunny weather will have drawn consumers to high streets in September, resulting in a greater drop in shopping centre footfall of 2.5 per cent, this is not just a one off result as shopping centre footfall has dropped by 1.8 per cent for the year to date compared with -1.4 per cent in high streets and a rise of 1.2 per cent in retail parks. The issue for shopping centres could be that many have lacked the investment required to maintain their appeal for shoppers whose standards and expectations have risen.
“The other trend is the rate of increase in footfall in retail parks is diminishing, with a decline in three months of this year and a lower average increase for the year to date of 1.2 per cent compared with 2.2 per cent last year. Changes in their offer including family friendly restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, and cinemas heightened the attractiveness of these locations to shoppers and led to an uplift in footfall. Inevitably this rate of increase slows.
“Moving forward into what should be the most lucrative trading period of the year, despite the challenges of a weaker pound and living wage costs, it is critical that staffing remains strong to deliver the level of customer service required to ensure retail destinations offer a quality customer experience.”