15 June 2024, 09:04
By Furniture News May 31, 2024

Retail footfall improves in May, but BRC calls for industry reform

According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data, total UK retail footfall decreased by -3.6% YoY in May (YoY), a marked improvement on April's -7.2%.

High street footfall fell by -2.7% (up from -6.9% in April), retail park footfall by -2.3% (up from -6.2%), and shopping centre footfall by -4.5% (up from -7.2% in April).

All UK nations saw a YoY fall – Northern Ireland by -3.0% YoY, England by -3.4%, Wales by -5.0%, and Scotland by -5.4%.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), says: “UK footfall declined in May, as bank holidays and improving weather failed to entice customers to make in-person trips to shopping destinations.

"All locations did improve on the previous month, while Birmingham performed best out of the major cities, showing a positive footfall trend. Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.

“With an election only five weeks away, political parties have a role to play too by having policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations across the UK. A broken business rates system and outdated planning laws are holding back the industry – politicians of all stripes must address these issues. This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, comments: “Retailers were dealt some good news in May, as footfall recovered against the month before.

"While no-one’s denying this improvement is starting from a low base following a gloomy performance in April, many will be hoping that this represents a turning point. And, with inflationary pressures easing and household budgets starting to feel a little less squeezed, along with the optimism that may come with the general election in July, many may be hoping the mood music has shifted key into something more positive.

"With lots of opportunities to engage shoppers and benefit from ambient trade from forthcoming major events over the summer, such as the European Football Championships and Olympics, retailers may have just cause for cautious optimism that consumers will vote with their feet and head back to the shops in greater numbers."

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