Retail Footfall Down For Third Consecutive Month

Footfall in September decreased by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the same decrease as in August, in line with the 3-month rolling average of -1.2 per cent and below the 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard, high street footfall declined by 2.2 per cent in September, a smaller decline than August’s 2.6 per cent.

The East was the only region to see increased growth in September, of 1.9 per cent, and the only region to show high street growth of 0.4 per cent.

Overall, the deepest decline in footfall in September occurred in Northern Ireland (4.3 per cent) and the South West (2.4 per cent). Greater London decline slowed to 0.9 per cent from 2.0 per cent in August.

Scotland recorded its biggest decline at 2.0 per cent since June 2016.

Helen Dickinson, chief-executive of BRC 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. 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.”

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