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January footfall best in two years
UK retail footfall rose by 1.2% year-on-year in January which was a significant improvement on the 2.2% decline seen in December.
The figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard in their monthly footfall monitor show that this was the best performance since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions.
Footfall in retail park locations climbed by 5.2% year-on-year which was the biggest increase in two years.
High Streets reported their first rise in footfall since July 2013 with an uplift of 0.2%.
Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall was broadly flat to mark the best performance since January 2014.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “The improvement in shopper footfall witnessed in January provided a timely and welcome fillip to retailers at the start of the year, with retail parks once again recording a stellar performance. Indeed, this was the best overall footfall performance for two years, and well ahead of the 3-month average.”
The figures also show that the national town centre vacancy rate was 8.7% in January, down from the 9.1% rate seen in October 2015. This is the lowest reported rate since the BRC and Springboard began reporting the data in July 2011.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “The improved vacancy rate is an encouraging sign, but there needs to be caution about being too optimistic as evidence shows the driving force to be an increase in pop-ups and temporary lets in the run up to Christmas and which are still occupied.”