24 May 2024, 18:18
By Furniture News Jul 21, 2014

Footfall to out-of-town destinations grows

Footfall in June was 0.7% down on a year ago, down on the 0.2% fall in May and below the three-month average of a 0.3% decline, according to the British Retail Consortium-Springboard Footfall Monitor.

Footfall on the high street was 1.7% down on the previous year for June, down on May’s fall of 0.9%. Out-of-Town reported the only rise – 2.4% higher than a year ago – while footfall in shopping centers was down 1.2% on the previous year.

All regions and countries with the exception of Greater London (-2.7%) West Midlands (-5.2%), East Midlands (-1.2%) and Wales (-1.4%) reported footfall below the UK average (-0.7%).

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, says: “At first glance, this month’s figures don’t paint a rosy picture for the retail industry with the headline figure showing footfall shrinking once again. However, out-of-town shopping destinations continue to outperform high streets and shopping centres, reinforcing the fact that shopping is something we increasingly do as a leisure activity and that well-managed ‘destinations’, whether in or out of town, still have the power to pull in the shopping public.

“However, strong footfall doesn’t always equate to good sales and vice versa. Retailers have seen good sales growth in their online clothing and footwear offer and many are reporting positive results led by their online summer sales. The popularity of click-and-collect has helped support footfall in retail parks, offering further evidence of the changing shape of how we shop and the increasing complexity of the relationship between digital and physical.

“We need to look at what barriers there are to retailers operating in each or across multiple channels – be that business rates for those with physical stores or digital infrastructure for those with an online offer – and do all that we can to ensure that they are removed so that the retail industry can continue to deliver to our increasingly discerning customers, create jobs and drive growth in the wider economy.’’

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, adds: ‘’June is the sixth month in a row in which activity in retail and shopping parks has increased, and so it appears that the trend for consumers to favour out-of-town locations over urban shopping environments has established itself as a key feature of 2014. In sharp contrast, in both high streets and shopping centres footfall has dropped in all but one month this year, which reinforces the much recognised need for investment in our long-established and strategically-significant town centre retail locations.

"As importantly, the difference in performance is not isolated to a single region but widespread. In virtually all parts of the UK, footfall in out-of-town locations has increased in every month this year, whilst in nearly all regions of the UK high streets and shopping centres have recorded footfall decreases in every month of 2014.’’

Footfall across the UK in June averaged -0.7%. Four regions in England reported footfall above the UK average – North and Yorkshire (-0.3%), South East (0.4%), South West (1.3%), and the East (2.2%).

Northern Ireland experienced the greatest rise in footfall, reporting a rise of 11.8% on the previous year. Scotland experienced a fall in footfall at 0.6% after the 0.6% rise the previous month, while Wales reported a footfall decline of 1.4%.

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