Jul 17, 2017
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UK June footfall up but fashion loses out

Jul 17, 2017

It may sometimes seem a fruitless task trying to get a clear picture of footfall trends given the discrepancies between various surveys. But a picture of June is emerging that shows footfall was positive overall.

UK shoppers were lured by the sun in June but avoided indoor malls

And sunny weather seems to have been behind this with the latest study, from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium, calling it out as the number one factor that drove Britons into stores last month.

Footfall rose 0.8% year-on-year, which may not sound like a large number, but it was above the three-month average of 0.5% and if it could be repeated across the year, the total figure would lead to a significant increase in shoppers hitting physical stores.

However, shopping centres were once again the weakest performers. The locations that are likely to contain the biggest concentration of fashion stores saw footfall dropping 0.8%. There was some good news in that this was better than the 2.3% fall of a year ago and also just about beat the three-month average of a 0.9% fall.

But Springboard also said that department store sales fell 1.6% and fashion store sales dropped 2.3%, the latter figure exactly in line with that mall footfall drop.

However, although this report didn't look at regional figures, data from other surveys such as Coniq and Ipsos Retail Performance suggests that malls in some areas performed much better than others.

The star performers across the country in June were retail parks, Springboard said. They grew 2.3%, compared to a 1% fall a year ago, and beat the three-month average of 2.2%, which was dragged down by only a 1.5% rise in May.

This is better news for the fashion sector than it would have been just a few years ago as the balance of stores in retail parks has shifted further from the traditional DIY and supermarkets they once contained towards a bigger fashion presence. And even those supermarkets that still dominate such locations are increasing their fashion offer overall.

Meanwhile high street footfall rose 0.9%, much better than the 3.7% fall of a year ago (but clearly not enough to recover from that dip) and beating the three-month average of 0.4%.

High streets tend to benefit from the rise in shopping after 5pm as consumers take more leisure trips rather than just going shopping. But with the sun shining, June also saw an uplift in daytime visits to stores. Springboard said this boosted both high streets and retail parks but indoor malls suffered as a result.

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