Footfall falls again: ‘The reinvention of the High Street is far from complete’

Retail footfall in June was 1.5 per cent lower than a year ago, down from the one per cent fall in May.

Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard shows that both shopping centres and high streets reported a decline, falling 2.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

Footfall in retail parks fared the best with a 2.8 per cent rise year-on-year, an improvement on the 1.4 per cent increase in May.

Northern Ireland and Wales also reported notable individual declines in footfall, down 3.5 per cent and three per cent respectively.

Footfall in Greater London and the East reported the greatest declines on a regional basis, both falling into negative territory after positive footfall growth in May. The West Midlands and the South West were the only regions to report an improvement in footfall between May and June.

Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General, said:“Retail Parks have seen another increase in shopper numbers this month – which is good news for the retailers operating in these areas. However, the fundamental shift in the way people are shopping seems to be driving the sustained reduction in shopper numbers to both high streets and shopping centres.

"This is a clear demonstration that the reinvention of the High Street is far from complete. The process of creating multi-use destinations in the heart of our towns and cities needs to continue in earnest if people are going to be drawn back to the High Street. This has happened in some areas, but the energy and effort behind sharing best practice needs to be redoubled.”

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, added:On the surface an overall drop in footfall of 1.5 per cent does not appear to be hugely detrimental, however, it belies the long term decline in the attractiveness of urban retail destinations to shoppers. 

"The drop in footfall in high streets of 2.8 per cent and in shopping centres of 2.4 per cent is undoubtedly a function of the continuing dilution of shopper numbers through online trading. At the same time, however, the rise in footfall of 2.8 per cent in retail parks in June – the 18th successive month in which footfall has increased – is clear evidence that it is still possible to drive up the volume of customers to bricks and mortar stores, albeit in part this is a function of owner driven improvements in their quality and offer." 

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