Shoppers moved out of town in July as footfall dropped
Shoppers preferred retail parks to high streets and in shopping centres last month.
Retail footfall fell by 1.1% in July, well down on the three month rolling average of -0.4% and the 12 month average of 0.2%, according to the British Retail Consortium Springboard Monitor.
High streets (-2.1%) and shopping centres (-1.3%) showed a decline, in contrast to retail parks which saw growth of 1.7%. It was the fourth consecutive month of footfall decline in shopping centres.
The East and South East were the only two regions that saw footfall growth in July, with the fastest growth in the East, which has now seen eight months of consecutive footfall growth. The East Midlands showed the fastest decline on the high street of all the regions at -4.7%.
Overall, the steepest decline in footfall in July occurred in the South West and Greater London, both showing a fall of -2.1%. Wales showed the first decline in seven months, at -0.9%. Scotland saw a further decline from -0.2% in June to -0.4% in July.
‘Most shopping destinations saw a decline in footfall in July compared with the previous year. Even high streets, which have seen fairly stable growth over recent months, reported a decline. Retail parks were the exception and have fared relatively well since March this year reflecting in part lower rental costs compared to prime and town centre locations as well as convenience for shoppers,’ said Helen Dickinson British Retail Consortium chief executive.
‘The overall decline in footfall translated into weak sales performance for stores in non-food particularly, which fell further into negative territory as consumers rein back spending on non-essential items.’
‘July’s results might well mark a sea change in consumers’ willingness to spend, as it was the first time since January that footfall dropped during both retail trading hours and into the evening. Over the last few months the growing importance of the leisure based trip has become a key part of the narrative when talking about retail destinations, but a -0.5 per cent drop in footfall post 5pm in July is the first evidence of a tightening of purse strings on casual dining and leisure trips,’ said Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director.