High Street

Retail footfall down 0.8%, shopping centres continue to suffer

Retail footfall fell by 0.8% in July when compared to the same time last year, despite the high street again seeing a slight rise.

The figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard show that high street footfall increased by 0.3% which was the third consecutive month of growth.

However retail parks and shopping centres suffered as they saw a 0.5% and 3.4% decrease respectively, attributed to shoppers being turned away by the hot weather.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “Inevitably, the hot weather in July impacted visits to retail destinations as the attraction of external environments and non-retail experiences lured consumers away from stores.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, added: “The hot, dry weather in July turned consumers’ attentions to eating, drinking and enjoying the outdoors. That provided a small lift for high streets as shoppers popped out to grab food, drink and fans to keep cool. However, the heat sapped shoppers’ stamina for longer trips with both retail parks and shopping centres seeing footfall sink.”

“Aside from short-term weather impacts, there’s no escaping the fact that retail is changing. With fewer people visiting physical stores and fewer purchases being made there, at the same time as costs are going up year on year, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing many retailers reduce their store portfolios,” she continued.

“As shops close, we need new businesses to emerge to reinvent the nation’s high streets. But that cannot happen if the burden of business rates they face continues to rise year on year, which is why we’re calling for a freeze in business rates in the Chancellor’s next Budget.”

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