Mar 20, 2017
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UK footfall drops again in February, decline accelerates in retail parks

Mar 20, 2017

UK footfall fell in February 1% on a year ago, representing the sixth consecutive month of decline. While shopping centres suffered the biggest fall, footfall in retail parks dropped at the fastest rate since November 2013. The one bright spot was high street footfall, which rose, but only slightly.

Stores may not have been deserted last month but they certainly were not packed out

According to the BRC- Springboard Footfall Monitor for last month, the fall in the number of people visiting UK retail locations was slightly less in February compared with last year, however Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehlre said this was “not reflective of the stabilisation of consumer behaviour.”

“Increasing uncertainty arising from the imminent triggering of Article 50 has certainly started to have an impact on purchasing behaviour, the types of destinations shoppers are visiting and how they spend their money,” she said.

She added that high streets are benefitting as the destination of choice for dining and leisure, reporting a 0.1% increase in February compared with last year’s 2.9% slide.

But shopping centres across the UK continued to struggle with a 2.6% decrease in footfall, compared with a 0.6% decline in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, footfall in retail park locations dropped by 1.6%, the biggest fall since November 2013, as spend on furniture and household items – traditionally a significant footfall driver for retail parks – weakened slightly in February. 

As footfall figures continue to show a negative picture, Helen Dickinson, Chief-Executive of the British Retail Consortium, raised concerns over the potential negative impact the imminent business rates revaluation could have on the retail sector.

“The modest relief fund for business rates announced in the Budget will hopefully go some way to helping those shops hardest hit, albeit only temporarily. It won’t however ease the burden for the majority of retailers who will continue to pay nearly a half of rental values in property tax,” she said.

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