High Street footfall declines in September

Footfall on the High Street and shopping centres fell again in September according to figures released by Springboard for the British Retail Consortium.

September footfall decreased by1.2 per cent year-on-year, the same fall as in August. This in line with the three month rolling average of-1.2 per cent.

High Street football fell by 2.2 per cent in September with shopping centres saw a one per cent decline, up from 0.8 per cent in August.

However. Retail Parks still saw positive growth, but reduced to 1.1 per cent from 1.6 per cent in August, a 0.5 percentage point reduction.

Helen Dickinson OBE, British Retail Consortium chief executive said: “September’s footfall figures have a sense of unwelcome déjà vu around them. For the third consecutive month, most shopping destinations suffered a decline with retail parks continuing to buck the trend; attracting more visitors than the previous year and the opposite being true for high streets.

“There’s an urgent need to stall the growing number of retail locations, particularly in more vulnerable parts of the country, falling further and further behind by attracting shoppers to retail destinations with the right mix of products, experience and convenience. But this is where the conundrum lies for retailers: the growing cost of doing business leaves little to no wiggle room for investment in their store proposition.

“With September’s RPI expected to be at least four per cent meaning retailers’ business rates bills will surge by quarter of a billion pounds in 2018, the prospect of a further investment sapping rise is deeply worrying and will only serve to make things tougher on the high street.”

Dickinson called on the Government to do more to relive the pressure on retailers, she said: In his Budget next month, the Chancellor has an opportunity to offer local communities and high streets some much needed respite from risks to local shops and jobs by scrapping next year’s rise in business rates.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said “The drop in footfall in September of -1.2 per cent – the third consecutive monthly drop of more than -1 per cent – drove the three month rolling average down to -1.2 per cent from -0.4 per cent in August; by far the worst three month average since August last year. September’s sales rose due to inflation, but the accelerating decline in footfall is a strong indicator of consumers railing back spending.

“Much is often made about the impact of weather, but with similar weather conditions to September 2016, this cannot be put forward as a driver. Aggressive early season sales indicate retailers are spooked, and they will be on edge with the six-week countdown now on to the start of the festive shopping season.

“And the decline in footfall doesn’t just mean reduced spending on retail goods; drops in footfall across all periods of the 24-hour day demonstrate that leisure and hospitality spending is also being curtailed. Indeed, in contrast to last month when the drop in footfall during daytime hours was just half that post 5pm, in September the -1.3 per cent drop in footfall between 9am and 5pm was a third greater than the -1 per cent decline post 5pm.

“Despite the overall decline in footfall, retail parks continue to increase their appeal with a rise of 1.1 per cent; the seventh consecutive month of footfall increase. The appeal of their accessibility and free parking, alongside an increasingly attractive proposition, comes to the fore when household budgets are squeezed through inflationary pressures and minimal wage rise.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button