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Out of town gives footfall boost

Retail parks saw an increase in footfall in February, while the overall rate of decline slowed.

According to BRC-Springboard analysis, footfall dropped by 0.5% in February. This compares with a 1% drop in 2017, a three-month average of -2% and -0.7% in the past 12 months.

Half of the regions saw growth in February, the most notable being Northern Ireland which grew by 0.3%, ending eight months of consecutive decline. The East Midlands grew by 2.1%, up from the 2.2% decrease in the previous month. The East returned to growth, footfall having increased by 0.7%. Greater London and the South East continue to experience decline of 1.1% and 1%, respectively.

Retail parks outperformed all other shopping locations: the West Midlands grew by 5.1%, South East by 4.8% and South West by 2.6%.

‘Footfall continued to fall year-on-year in February across most retail destinations, even before the significant impact of the snow over the last two weeks. This was mirrored in relatively flat consumer spending overall, which continues to struggle against the current retail headwinds.

‘Retail parks fared better with footfall rising above the three-month average. These locations are typically home to furniture retailers whose offer of credit options paid off by enticing shoppers and boosting sales,’ said Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive.