March Sees Steepest Drop In Footfall For Eight Years
British Retail Consortium (BRC) published in its Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor. This morning found a substantial decline in footfall past five weeks to March 31. It is an average drop of just 1.4% when compared in 2017.
Greater London was hit hardest with footfall down by 7.5%, South East down by 6.5% and the East Midlands dropped by 5.6%.
Overall in any UK region there was no footfall and fell in all destinations. High streets saw a decline of 8.6%, retail parks down by 1.8% and a drop of 4.8% in shopping centres.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson blamed more than just the weather for the results, stating, “whilst the prolonged period of bad weather has had an impact on shoppers visiting the high street, we are seeing a longer term trend of reduced footfall which highlights that shoppers face more choice in terms of how, where and when they shop.”
She added that “the retail environment is changing and retailers are investing in innovation and technology adaptations in response to this.”
“Policy makers need to play their role with a vision for a modern taxation system which reflects this new environment.” Springboard director Diana Wehrle said “comparing the weekly trend with annual change in footfall enables us to see the fundamentals underlying shopper activity.
“So whilst footfall was hit hard in the first week of the month, declining by -17.1% from the week before, it bounced back, rising by +25.5% in the second week and by an average of +2.3% over the month, demonstrating that deferred trips were reinstated when the weather improved.”
“But the bounce back was based on a reduced shopper pool compared with last year, with the significant annual decline of -6% over the month demonstrating that there is reduced shopper activity this year than in 2017,” Wehrle added.