Retail parks continue to outperform other shopping destinations, according to the BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor for October 2015.
Footfall in October was 0.2% lower than a year ago – unchanged from the decline in September – yet footfall in retail park locations increased 2.9% year-on-year. High streets and shopping centres reported a decline in footfall of 1% and 1.3%, respectively.
The national town centre vacancy rate was 9.1% in October 2015, down from the 9.8% rate reported in July 2015. This is the lowest reported rate since BRC-Springboard began reporting the data in July 2011
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, says: “The locations consumers are choosing to shop remains in a state of flux. While the rate of decline in footfall across high streets and shopping centres appears to have stabilised, more and more shoppers are choosing to visit retail parks which offer a greater mix of leisure and retail.
“There is a little cheer in the news that vacancies have fallen once again. However in order for this good news to be sustainable, action is urgently needed to reform business rates. Otherwise the new occupants of these premises will, in the not too distant future, find themselves struggling under the weight of ballooning bills. If the burden of business rates continues to grow as it has in the past, today’s vacancy figure may become but a distant, happy memory. Action now will ensure our high streets remain vibrant and viable long into the future."