August footfall sees sharpest fall in seven months
The Experian National Retail Footfall Index in August revealed that the month showed an overall year-on-year fall in shopper visits of 4.1 per cent.This was a disappointing performance but as temperatures soared throughout the month, the good weather encouraged consumers to continue to choose outdoor family activities as opposed to shopping.
August's year-on-year footfall decline has been the largest in the past seven months and the previous two years shows the Retail FootFall Index for August has normally been flat. This month's depressing performance cannot be entirely attributed to the weather although the sunshine encourages the 'Staycation' consumer.
As consumers continue to be shrewd and search for bargains via other channels as an alternative to shopping centres for most purchases, the supermarkets have triggered the latest school uniform price war battle on the High Street making it easier for shoppers to choose where to kit out their kids.
The combination of The Ashes and the heat wave on Sunday 23rd August proved to be the least popular shopping day, with UK National Index footfall levels for the day showing a fall of 11.7% year-on-year suggesting that people continued to favour outdoor leisure activities and watching the cricket over shopping.
The recent drop in house prices is continuing to encourage footfall to Retail Parks, as the Retail Park Index saw yet another positive performance in this sector with a year on year increase of +1.3%. The chart below shows the positive year-on-year performances for the past 8 weeks against the UK National Index, highlighting only one week's negative performance for the past two months within the sector.
September is likely to show further unpredictability as we witness increased petrol prices, which will no doubt impact on the level of retail activity to out of town destinations.
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