Retail footfall in November was 2.1% lower than a year ago, significantly below the 0.2% decline in October and underperforming the three-month average of -0.8%, according to the BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor for November 2015, which attributes the bulk of the decrease to the Black Friday phenomenon.
Footfall in retail park locations increased 2% year-on-year, below October’s high of 2.9%. High streets and shopping centres saw a further decline in footfall, falling to 3.4% and 2.8% respectively.
Only two regions – the East Midlands and Greater London – reported positive footfall growth in November .
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, says: "Shopper footfall wilted once again last month, as consumers shunned high streets and instead sought to take advantage of online Black Friday promotions and discounts, which often ranged across several days. As a result November was the eighth consecutive month in which shopper footfall declined, and at a faster rate than the three-month average.
"Those retailers with a strong multichannel offer - allowing customers to shop in-store, at home and on the move - will have been well placed to capitalise on this further milestone in the development of our digital economy. Once again retail parks performed well, with high streets and shopping malls lagging behind.
"The retail industry is undergoing profound structural change at a time when shop prices are falling and margins are thin, and this requires a supportive public policy environment which keeps a firm lid on Government-inspired costs which could cost the industry an extra £14b over the next five years."
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director for Springboard, adds: “The learning from the UK-wide November footfall result indicates the winners were those destinations that continue to adopt the old-school rules of retail – the three Cs of convenience, choice and customer service. Retail parks have these core principles at the heart of their offer, and as a result footfall has increased annually for the past 23 consecutive months with an average increase of 2.4% over this period. Shoppers are increasingly seeking out this traditional retail destination as a strong alternative to online as they have an expanding breadth of offer, together with a core edit of retail brands to choose from.
“There is an evident need for urban shopping destinations to see 2016 as an opportunity to focus on cracking the perennial issue of convenient parking options for shoppers, as most retail parks offer this free of charge. Such changes as improving easy access to town centres could ensure the decline in footfall observed in November, and throughout the year, is mitigated next year.”