Experian National Retail FootFall Index falls by 2.3% in July
The month did start with unusually hot weather initially distracting would be shoppers from the Shopping Centres to pursue outdoor leisure activities, but the weather was short lived and the majority of July continued with a combination of sunny spells and scattered showers. But the wet weather and cooler temperatures were not enough to draw the level of shoppers seen in previous years.
A regional breakdown shows that the South West & Wales, (-6.6%), Scotland,(-6.3%), faced the largest drops year-on-year. In contrast, the South East region increased year-on-year performance (2.6%).
The economic slump has no doubt changed consumer behaviour, as we witness a shift from shoppers visiting high street shops and choosing Retail Parks to shop instead. The FootFall UK National Index performance to date compared to last year is performing negatively at -2.1%, but the FootFall UK Retail Park Index is showing a year to date increase of 0.2%. Where all other sectors are showing a depressing performance throughout this recession, the Retail Park sector appears to be attracting more consumers since the housing market picked up earlier this year in April. As first time buyers get onto the property ladder, Retail Parks also become choice of destination to shop or browse for the required big ticket purchases, particularly 'white goods', furniture, homewares, DIY and electricals. Below is a chart showing the last eight weeks year on year percentage performance of the Retail Park Index against the UK National Index, highlighting the positive percentage change.
The Retail Park sector has been doing consistently well compared to last year, highlighting consumer preference to spend the sunny days either in their gardens or pursuing DIY projects indoors.
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