17 April 2019, 08:46 AM
  • Figures from the BRC and Springboard show an increase in footfall but say consumer confidence is flagging
Footfall research shows retail fighting against ‘no splurge culture’

British high streets have seen an increases in shoppers in recent weeks but this hasn’t translated into sales, according to new data from the BRC and Springboard, covering the five weeks between 24th February to 30th March 2019.

Figures show that footfall increased in March at 1.4%, compared to a fall of 0.6% the previous year. On a three-month basis footfall dropped by 0.3%, with six and 12-month averages both at 1.4%.

High street footfall also increased by 2.5%, compared to a decline of 8.6% in March 2018, which was above the three-month average growth of 0.2%.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive at the BRC said, “Retailers will be relieved to see footfall up from last year though this is was heavily influenced by the weather: while shoppers in 2018 were contending with the “Beast from the East”, this March has been mild by comparison. Unfortunately, the higher footfall has not translated into higher spending.”

Diane Wehrle, springboard marketing and insights director added, “At first sight the year-on-year rise in footfall of +1.4% in March appears to signify a reverse in trend from the previous two years, when footfall dropped in all but two of the past 22 months. However, whilst news of an improvement in footfall would be most welcome, it is simply not the case and instead the rise of +1.4% should be regarded as an exceptional circumstance relating to a dramatic slump in footfall in March 2018 of -6%. Indeed, this was by far the worst monthly result of the year and adversely influenced the outcome for footfall in 2018 as a whole.

“The result clearly indicates that we continue to be in the midst of a no splurge culture; with consumer confidence continuing to languish, shoppers are clearly focused on prudence.”