Retail footfall plummets as autumn begins

Footfall in non-food stores fell by 9.9% year-on-year in September, according to the Retail Traffic Index published by Ipsos Retail Performance.

Compared with August, the average weekly footfall in the month fell by -7.3%. Additionally, the number of shoppers visiting the high street in London and the south east continued to “plummet”, with footfall down -15.5% on the same time last year and -13.5% for the quarter.

Dr. Tim Denison, director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “These disappointing figures come on the back of an unexpectedly quiet August in which sales were flat and online sales contracted.

“They are all the more startling given the latest retail price data published by the BRC and Nielsen, which show that non-food price deflation was at its highest since May 2018.”

He added: “Despite seasonal sales and promotional offers, consumer demand for retail goods has taken a dive for the worse over the last couple of months.”

“In the run up to peak trading, the wobble in demand couldn’t be more ill-timed for the sector. The key question is ‘what are the main drivers behind the fall in shoppers?’ If households are bracing themselves for Brexit and are unsettled by the political and economic confusion,, then demand could recover quite quickly.”

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