BRC: Footfall in June was 0.8% up on a year ago

London, 2017-Jul-17 — /EPR Retail News/ —

BRC – SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES JUNE 2017

Covering the four weeks 28 May – 1 July 2017

  • Footfall in June was 0.8 per cent up on a year ago. leaving it ahead of the three month average of 0.5 per cent.
  • On a three-month basis, footfall grew 0.5 per cent, a slight reduction against past two months of 0.7 per cent
  • High Street footfall rose 0.9 per cent in June on the previous year’s rate of -3.7 per cent. This is 5 basis points above the three month average of 0.4 per cent.
  • Footfall in Retail Park locations grew by 2.3 per cent in June, compared to a 1.0 per cent decrease in June 2016. This comes after a 1.5 per cent rise in May, and is below the three-month average of 2.2 per cent.
  • Footfall in Shopping Centres fell by 0.8 per cent in June on the -2.3 per cent rate in June 2016. This is marginally above the three-month average of -0.9 per cent.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive | British Retail Consortium

The arrival of summer spurred greater shopper footfall in the majority of retail destinations in June. High streets and retail parks saw solid growth in footfall, as shoppers headed out to renew their wardrobes and purchase other seasonal items. Most parts of the UK benefitted from these sun fuelled shopping outings, with the East of England especially witnessing brisk growth.

Amidst economic uncertainty and mounting concern over the inflationary squeeze on household incomes, sustaining growth in shopper footfall will be challenging, more so as retailers seek to convert that into an improved performance at tills. And while they step up their efforts to keep prices down for their customers against rising input prices and inflation, the Government can help alleviate the cost pressures in the immediate term by sticking to their commitment on business rates reform to deliver a system fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director

The rise in footfall of +0.8% in June is a result that tells a different story to the sales statistics we are seeing, with the Springboard Sales Tracker recording drops in sales in department stores of -1.6% and of -2.3% in fashion stores.  However, sales do present a very varied picture, dependent on the breadth of the measure used and inflationary pressures which push sales values up.

The uplift in footfall in June, compared with the -1% drop in May, and its divergence from sales, can be attributed to a number of factors. The weather was far better than in June last year, which encourages consumers to visit bricks and mortar destinations, particularly external environments such as high streets and retail parks. Also in recent months, we have seen rising footfall in the hours after 5pm, illustrating the trend in consumer behaviour towards leisure trips after retail trading hours, demonstrated by the rise in hospitality sales of +0.3% in June.  In June, however, the better weather supported the increase in footfall during daytime hours. Indeed, the cumulative impact of both these factors accounts for the weaker footfall performance in shopping centres compared with high streets and retail parks.

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRC: Footfall in May fell by 1.0 per cent in the UK on the same month in the previous year

London, 2017-Jun-12 — /EPR Retail News/ —

BRC- SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR – MAY 2017
Covering the four weeks 30 April – 27 May 2017

  • Footfall in May fell by 1.0 per cent in the UK on the same month in the previous year, the first decline since February.
  • This is below the three-month average of 0.7 per cent. This month’s positive three-month average makes two consecutive months of three-month average growth, the first time this has occurred since June-August 2013.
  •  High Street Footfall declined in May, the fall of 2.0 per cent its steepest decline since June. This is below the three-month average of 0.8 per cent.
  • Footfall to Retail Park destinations grew by 1.5 per cent in May, below the three-month average growth rate of 1.8 per cent.
  • Shopping Centre Footfall fell by 1.3 per cent in May, below the three-month average of -0.5 per cent.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive | British Retail Consortium

“After the Easter boost in shopper numbers to retail destinations, footfall fell in May, which was mirrored in the month’s sales performance. But it wasn’t just shops that suffered; poor weather at the beginning of the month kept people indoors and made it a poor month for footfall in general with fewer people out and about.

“The biggest movement was noticeable in the number of visitors to the high street, which after several months of growth, saw the steepest decline since June last year.  In an uncertain economic climate, retailers will be looking to the next Government to deliver on their commitment to fundamental reform of business rates; to implement a more sustainable system that allows for growth and investment.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director

“May was clearly a month of moderation for UK shoppers, with a -1% drop in footfall across all destinations, and a -2% drop in the high street. The slowing of growth in footfall post 5 pm to +1.1% in May from +3.5% in May 2016 reflects this moderation, suggesting fewer shoppers opted to stay longer and eat out after their shopping trips; a concern for retail locations that have focussed on expanding their food offer to grow shopper dwell time.  The drop in footfall was mirrored by a drop of -3.7% in UK sales as measured by Springboard’s sales index which tracks sales in bricks and mortar stores – with fashion spend in particular dipping in May.  These are clear signals that consumers have started to display greater spending restraint.

“Whilst May’s footfall decline didn’t show a dramatic drop overall, the result for high streets was the worst result since June 2016 when high street footfall declined by -3.7% in the wake of the EU Referendum.  However, April’s results were boosted by the shift in Easter from March in 2016 to April this year, so it is unsurprising that there was a downward shift in footfall from last month, particularly as UK consumers could feel additionally cautious in the lead up to the General Election.”

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRC: Footfall in April grew 1.6% vs. same month the previous year, the fastest growth in five years

London, 2017-May-15 — /EPR Retail News/ —

BRC- SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR – APRIL 2017

Covering the four weeks 02 April – 29 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.”

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRC-SPRINGBOARD MARCH 2017: Footfall up 1.3% on the previous year, the fastest growth since March 2014

London, 2017-Apr-18 — /EPR Retail News/ —

BRC- SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR – MARCH 2017
Covering the five weeks 26 February – 1 April 2017

  • Footfall in March grew 1.3% on the previous year, the fastest growth since March 2014. This is well above the three-month average of -0.2%. Note there is an impact on this number due to a calendar distortion – March 2016 included Easter Sunday, when shops were shut, whereas this year did not, adding one more shopping day, and therefore one more day’s footfall, to the period.
  • There was footfall growth in all three retail destinations in March. High street: 1.7%, Retail Parks: 1.4%, Shopping Centres: 0.2%. This month saw the fastest high street growth since March 2014.
  • 7 out of the 10 nations/regions we report on saw a rise in footfall in March
  • The steepest footfall decline occurred in Northern Ireland, where footfall fell by 3.7%. This was followed by the South West, where footfall fell by 2.3%

HELEN DICKINSON OBE, CHIEF-EXECUTIVE | BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM

“Shopper visits increased to all retail destinations in March, resulting in the fastest annual growth in footfall for three years. This is partly owed to the exclusion of Easter Sunday from the period, which therefore benefits from an additional shopping day. But even looking beyond the distortion, the positive growth across most of the country is a reassuring sign for retailers.

“The high street continues to outperform shopping centres and retail parks, for the second consecutive month. Disappointingly though, this didn’t translate into retail sales, which were down in March on the previous year. Now that the Easter holidays have arrived, the challenge for retailers will be to attract this greater number of high street visitors into their stores.”

DIANE WEHRLE, MARKETING AND INSIGHTS DIRECTOR | SPRINGBOARD

“March definitely provided a break in the clouds, with the +1.3% rise in footfall breaking a six-month consecutive decline and the +0.2% increase in footfall in shopping centres being the first since January 2016. Whilst some of the +1.3% may have been a consequence of the loss of a trading day last year due to an early Easter, the impact of this shift should not be overstated as it will have been mitigated by increased trade on the other days over the Easter trading period.

“Indeed, if anything it is more evidence of the continuing structural shift in the use of retail destinations for leisure and hospitality trips. Virtually all of the increase in footfall in March was derived from the post 5pm period while footfall during the trading hours of 9 am to 5 pm dropped –by just -0.5% in high streets, but much more significantly, by -7.1%, in shopping centres. Indeed, the worsening of consumer confidence and inflation from last year is likely to be constraining shoppers’ willingness to spend on retail goods. This all lends further evidence to the fact that retail is no longer the sole driver of footfall, with a strong leisure/hospitality offer being a critical element to secure retail success.”

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source:  BRC

BRC Chief Executive: Both footfall and shop prices have fallen year-on-year, retail spending grew in September by 1.3%

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.”

Media Contact:

BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRC/SPRINGBOARD: Retail park footfall increased 2.9% YoY in October 2015

  • 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. info@brc.org.uk.

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

BRC/SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR: Footfall in May was 1.0% lower than a year ago, down from the 0.8% fall in April

– Footfall in May was 1.0% lower than a year ago, down from the 0.8% fall in April. This was below the three-month average of -0.5.

– Both High Streets and Shopping Centres reported a decline, falling 1.5% and 2.0% respectively.

– Footfall in out-of-town locations fared the best with a 1.4% increase year-on-year, an improvement on the 0.5% rise in April and a continuation of its positive trend.

– Three regions reported positive footfall growth, with the greatest rises seen in the East and Greater London.

– All three nations reported a decline in footfall in May, with Wales reporting the most notable fall (-4.3%), significantly below the UK average.

LONDON, 2015-6-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “The pace of change in the way we shop shows no sign of slowing. In fact, today’s figures show the rate of decline in shopper numbers on our high streets and in shopping centres has slightly increased. Local government, town centre managers and retailers will need to continue to work together to refine their high street offer and give customers practical, positive reasons to return.

It’s vital that central government plays its part too. Retail can have a crucial role in delivering the Chancellor’s ambitious northern powerhouse. But with shopper numbers in decline across the north, there is some distance to travel before our contribution will be realised. The BRC continues to ask the Chancellor to call time on the current business rates system which is stifling retailers ability to invest. If he takes bold action on rates in his upcoming Budget, a crucial barrier to retailers driving growth in the north and across the rest of the UK, will finally have been removed.

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, said: ‘’The 1.0 per cent drop in footfall in May – a slight dip from the 0.8 per cent decrease in April – was driven by a worsening of high street footfall performance from a 0.1 per cent decline in April to a 1.5 per cent decline in May. Shopping centre footfall improved from a 3.0 per cent decline in April to a 2.0 per cent decline in May, however, this still leaves shopping centres with a reduced footfall.

‘’The negative position of high streets and shopping centres is in sharp contrast with the positive footfall result of 1.4 per cent in retail parks. Recording an increase in footfall for the past 17 consecutive months which has averaged 2.2 per cent, retail parks are clearly the winners in the grab for consumers across bricks and mortar retail destinations. This brings into sharp contrast the long term downward trend in high streets and shopping centres, where out of the last 17 months footfall has fallen in all but one month in high streets and two months in shopping centres.

‘’The success of retail parks is undoubtedly a function of owner driven change that has led to the introduction of a family based leisure offer in many out of town locations that previously fulfilled a purely functional role. This, in combination with plentiful and free car parking has enhanced the attraction of retail parks and improved their efficiency as click and collect locations for the ever increasing number of omni-channel shoppers. The high cost of parking in high streets and shopping centres, together with elongated travel times due to congestion means that urban destinations are at an obvious and increasing disadvantage.”

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

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.

BRC/SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL MONITOR NOVEMBER 2014: Footfall was 2.4% down on a year ago

Footfall in November was 2.4% down on a year ago, down on the 0.8% fall in October and below the three-month average of a 1.4% decline.

LONDON, 2014-12-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Out-of-Town reported the only rise, 0.8% higher than a year ago and has experienced positive footfall growth for every month to date in 2014.

Footfall in shopping centres was 2.1% down on the previous year for November.

All regions and countries with the exception of West Midlands (1.5%), East (2.2%) and Scotland (0.9%) reported declining footfall.

BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: “Today’s figures suggest that people are buying more non-food items per shopping trip; likely due to them having researched their potential purchases online or having chosen to ‘click-and-collect’. Shopper numbers were down 4.0 per cent on High Streets across the UK continuing the trend that has seen footfall declining in all but one month in 2014. The only shopping destinations seeing positive growth were out-of-town and even then shopper numbers increased by less than one per cent.

“Despite these figures, we know that retail sales for the same period remain strong – and this is not due solely to the increasing popularity of online shopping. Whereas once multiple shopping trips for a few items and leisurely browsing were the norm, now increasingly savvy shoppers are streamlining their visits to stores when making non-food purchases. The most successful shopping destinations are ensuring that they have a range of other experiences and activities on offer to drive up footfall.”

Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Footfall across the UK definitely took a turn for the worse in November, with the largest drop since February of this year. However, the good news is that the fall is still lower than the 2.9 per cent fall in November 2013, albeit whilst last year November was on par with October, this year the drop is three times as large as the 0.8 per cent recorded in October.

“Yet again it is high streets and shopping centres that are driving the decline in footfall, whilst footfall in retail parks remains positive, albeit a smaller rise than in previous months. The results clearly indicate that the structural shift in consumer activity brought about by the internet is ongoing, and that it is largely out of town locations that are continuing to capitalise on this change. However, it needs to be recognised that retail parks started from a much lower base than that for either high streets or shopping centres, and there increasing attractive to shoppers is compounded by the benefit of free car parking.

“‘It is particularly disappointing for high streets and shopping centres that the significant price promotions offered over the Black Friday weekend were not sufficient to turn the tide over the month. Indeed, it suggests that if retailers are to encourage shoppers back into bricks and mortar stores then there needs to be a greater focus on the enhancement of the customer experience, rather than a knee jerk reaction towards discounting which only undermines margins and long term profitability.'”

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