High Street Footfall Decline Deepens

Footfall in January was 1.3 per cent down on a year ago - the steepest drop since the 2.8 per cent fall in June 2016

According to data from the latest BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, the high street experienced a drop in footfall by 0.8 per cent in January on the year before, when it had risen by 0.2 per cent - this is behind the three-month average of -0.1 per cent.

Shopping centres were hit the worst after experiencing a decline in footfall for the 12th consecutive month. Retail park locations also fell year-on-year for the third consecutive month.

Helen Dickson, chief executive of BRC said, "The relentless downward trend in footfall picked up pace again in January as shopper numbers fell by 1.3 per cent over the same period in the previous year, following a 0.2 per cent decline in December. It was a fairly consistent picture across different retail locations; with the high street, which saw a modest bounceback the previous month, failing to draw in shoppers.

“January’s sluggish non-food sales, which undoubtedly corresponded with the dip in footfall below last year, go some way to explaining these underwhelming figures. Stores bore the brunt of the sales slowdown; posting their deepest three-month decline on record as online was the preferred shopping channel for the month’s clearance sales.

“At a time when retail is being re-imagined as customers seek more engaging experiences in our high streets, town centres and retail park and centres, the incentive for retailers to innovate and invest in physical space is being curtailed by the upward only trajectory of business rates. This disincentive needs to be removed and the burden reduced thereby encouraging, rather than deterring, investment to the benefit of those local communities most impacted.”

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