London, 2017-May-15 — /EPR Retail News/ —
BRC- SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR – APRIL 2017
- Footfall in April grew 1.6 per cent on the same month in the previous year, the fastest growth since March 2014.
- This is well above the three-month average of 0.7 per cent, which is the first positive three-month average since May 2014, and the highest since February 2012.
- High Street footfall grew 2.3 per cent in April, the fastest growth since March 2014. This was ahead of the three-month average of 1.4 per cent.
- Footfall to retail park destinations grew by 2.7% in April, the fastest growth since January 2016, and well ahead of the three-month average of 0.9 per cent.
- Shopping Centre footfall fell by 0.6 per cent in April, a slower decline than the three-month average of -0.9 per cent.
- The national town centre vacancy rate was 9.3 per cent in April 2017, down from 9.4 per cent in January 2017. This is largely due to sharp declines in Greater London and the East, the high street vacancy rates in all other nations/regions having risen in April.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive | British Retail Consortium
“The Easter holidays boosted family visits to shopping destinations in April, resulting in the fastest annual growth of footfall since March 2014. The inclusion of the holidays in this period will have distorted this figure but even looking beyond this, the picture over the last quarter has been largely positive.
“As has been the trend for some months now, high streets across most of the UK attracted the largest increase in visitors out of all shopping destinations. This translated into good news for stores too, which saw their fastest annual sales growth since January last year.
“At first glance the vacancy rate also looks positive for the month, with a modest decline. However, this average figure belies the increase that occurred in all areas of the UK except London, the East and the North & Yorkshire. We will have to wait for the impact of April’s business rates revaluations to materialise, but the challenges businesses face as the UK negotiates its future relationship with Europe has made reducing the burden and fundamentally reforming the business tax system even more critical.”
Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director
“As Easter fell in April this year, as opposed to March last year, footfall was boosted by +1.6 per cent. This rise comprised a +5 per cent increase in the first half of the month – which culminated in Good Friday and Easter Saturday – and dropped 6.4 per cent in the last two weeks.
“The rise was fuelled further by the weakened Pound, which drove an increase in overseas tourists – demonstrated by the +2.7 per cent uplift in footfall in London’s West End in April – and in Easter staycations amongst domestic visitors. Easter staycations boosted footfall +5.1 per cent in coastal towns and +7.9 per cent in historic towns. The underlying structural shift towards leisure-focussed trips meant that whilst high street footfall rose +1.9 per cent during retail trading hours, trips to high streets after 5pm increased by more than +3 per cent.
“The vacancy rate also improved very slightly in April to 9.3 per cent from 9.4 per cent in January, but this disguises increases in vacancies in all areas apart from in London, the East and the North & Yorkshire. The vacancy rate is perhaps a portent of things to come; inflationary pressures are likely to increase, which could suppress customer behaviour and therefore occupier demand, notwithstanding the emergence of new occupiers who initially tend to focus on London.”
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