According to the report May’s better weather resulted in a marginal improvement in footfall across the nation’s high street and out-of-town shopping areas, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the long term trend of declining visits to physical stores.
Helen Dickinson OBE, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Consumer behaviour is changing and retailers are continuing to adapt their stores to their customers’ requirements by investing in the integration of their online and bricks and mortar businesses, increasingly allowing customers to pick up in stores items purchased online.”
She added: “Policy makers can help to ease the pressure on both retailers and high streets by addressing the burden of business rates and adapting planning laws to support the successful reinvention of empty retail space.”
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “Instead at least in part it is likely to be a consequence of shopping trips being deferred from April – when the weather continued to be cold and wet – into May. It might also be regarded as a reflection of consumer demand resulting from the two May bank holidays which anchored the month at both ends.
“In reality, however, footfall actually declined in both bank holiday weeks, reflecting a long term trend identified by Springboard of the lessening in importance of public holidays for retail.”