High Street

Wet start to April dampens retail footfall

Footfall in April decreased by 3.3%, which is a significant decline compared to the 1.6% increase seen the previous year.

New data from retail intelligence firm Springboard revealed that there has been no growth in footfall for any UK region for two consecutive months. Most regions saw a slower rate of decline, with the most notable being Wales at 1.5% and Greater London at 2.4%.

The national town centre vacancy rate was 9.2% in April 2018, up from 8.9% in January 2018. All regions saw an increase in the vacancy rate, except Greater London, where the rate dropped to 3.6% from 5.6% in January 2018.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “Much could be made of the adverse impact on April’s footfall of Easter shifting to March, but even looking at March and April together – so smoothing this out – still demonstrates that footfall has plummeted.

“A 3.3% drp in April, following on from 6% in March, resulted in an unprecedented drop of 4.8% over the two months. Not since the depths of recession in 2009, has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree, and even then the drop was less severe at 3.8%.”

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, said :“A wet start to April had a dampening effect on visits across the UK’s shopping locations adding to the long term downward in footfall resulting from changing consumer behaviour.

“That shift in the way we shop, coupled with a highly challenging business environment, is having a significant impact on the nation’s high streets: in April nearly 1 in 10 shops in town centres was vacant.”

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