December 13, 2017

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Monday, November 27, 2017

BRC reports spring footfall surge loses momentum in May

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  • Footfall in May fell by 1.0 per cent in the UK on the same month in the previous year, the first decline since February.
  • This is below the three-month average of 0.7 per cent. This month’s positive three-month average makes two consecutive months of three-month average growth, the first time this has occurred since June-August 2013.
  •  High Street Footfall declined in May, the fall of 2.0 per cent its steepest decline since June. This is below the three-month average of 0.8 per cent.
  • Footfall to Retail Park destinations grew by 1.5 per cent in May, below the three-month average growth rate of 1.8 per cent.
  • Shopping Centre Footfall fell by 1.3 per cent in May, below the three-month average of -0.5 per cent.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief-executive of British Retail Consortium said: “After the Easter boost in shopper numbers to retail destinations, footfall fell in May, which was mirrored in the month’s sales performance. But it wasn’t just shops that suffered; poor weather at the beginning of the month kept people indoors and made it a poor month for footfall in general with fewer people out and about.

“The biggest movement was noticeable in the number of visitors to the high street, which after several months of growth, saw the steepest decline since June last year.  In an uncertain economic climate, retailers will be looking to the next Government to deliver on their commitment to fundamental reform of business rates; to implement a more sustainable system that allows for growth and investment.”

Diane Wehrle, springboard marketing and insights director commented: “May was clearly a month of moderation for UK shoppers, with a -1% drop in footfall across all destinations, and a -2% drop in the high street. The slowing of growth in footfall post 5pm to +1.1% in May from +3.5% in May 2016 reflects this moderation, suggesting fewer shoppers opted to stay longer and eat out after their shopping trips; a concern for retail locations that have focussed on expanding their food offer to grow shopper dwell time.  The drop in footfall was mirrored by a drop of -3.7% in UK sales as measured by Springboard’s sales index which tracks sales in bricks and mortar stores – with fashion spend in particular dipping in May.  These are clear signals that consumers have started to display greater spending restraint.

“Whilst May’s footfall decline didn’t show a dramatic drop overall, the result for high streets was the worst result since June 2016 when high street footfall declined by -3.7% in the wake of the EU Referendum.  However, April’s results were boosted by the shift in Easter from March in 2016 to April this year, so it is unsurprising that there was a downward shift in footfall from last month, particularly as UK consumers could feel additionally cautious in the lead up to the General Election.”

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