High Street

Retail footfall drops in February

Retail footfall decreased by 0.5% in February 2018, and is a major decline compared with the rate of 1.0% seen the previous year.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) this figure is better than the three-month average of -2.0% and the twelve-month average of -0.7%. However, Greater London and the South East continue to experience decline of 1.1% and 1.0%.

Retail parks outperformed all major shopping locations, and footfall in the West Midlands, South East and South West increased by 5.1%, 4.8% and 2.6% respectively. High street footfall showed growth for three regions: East Midlands (4.8%), Northern Ireland (1.9%) and the east (1.8%).

Footfall for shopping centres had the weakest performance of all three shopping destinations, with the West Midlands being the only region that recorded footfall growth (0.7%).

Helen Dickinson, CEO, BRC, said: “Footfall continued to fall year-on-year in February across most retail destinations, even before the significant impact of the snow over the last two weeks. This was mirrored in relatively flat consumer spending overall, that continues to struggle against the current retail headwinds.

“Looking ahead, there’s some hope that shopper activity will pick-up now that inflationary pressure has started to subside and wage growth is expected to move in the right direction.”

She added: “Retailers are facing into rapid structural change from digital evolution and rising operating costs. We know that there will be fewer stores in the future as portfolios are consolidated, so businesses and communities need to focus on repurposing physical space based on experience and refining the interplay with digital.”

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