Out of town attracts shoppers as high street shows recovery
Retail footfall fell in May, but out of town retail parks proved popular and high streets improved their performance.
Footfall in May was 0.2% down on a year ago, marginally down on the 0.1% fall in April and below the three-month average of a 0.6% increase, according to the British Retail Consortium/Springboard footfall monitor.
Footfall on the high street was 0.9% down on the previous year for May, but an improvement on April's fall of 1.4%. Out-of-Town reported the only rise, 3.3% higher than a year ago, while footfall in shopping centers was down 1.5% on the previous year.
All regions and countries with the exception Greater London (-1.6%) West Midlands (-2.3%), East Midlands (-3.0%) and Wales (-2.6%) reported positive footfall.
'The challenge faced by our retail destinations is continuing, with both a drop in footfall for a second month in a row, and an acceleration in the decline to 0.2% from 0.1% in April. However, the drop is a consequence of high streets and shopping centres losing out to retail parks which are benefiting from the inevitable lure of home products as house prices continue to rise. Indeed, retail parks have recorded increases in footfall in every month this year, which is levelling out at around 3% from last year,' says Diane Wehrle, Springboard retail insights director
'However, it also goes without saying that the month was severely hampered by poor trading performance over the two May bank holiday weekends. Despite fair weather at the beginning of the month the May Spring bank holiday weekend ended with a surprising drop in footfall, and heavy rain hit the UK over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend - a key trading time as it coincides with the school half term holiday - which had an adverse impact on activity in retail destinations.
'The prevailing cautiousness amongst consumers means that the appeal of the retail park has inevitably had a negative impact on trips to other types of retail destination; alongside increases in footfall in retail parks in every month this year, footfall has dropped in high streets and shopping centres in four of the five months since January.'