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FootFall in January was down 2.6 per cent compared to the same month last year.

UK National Experian FootFall Index shows year-on-year decrease of 2.6% following reintroduction of full VAT rate


FootFall in January was down 2.6 per cent compared to the same month last year.

UK National Experian FootFall Index shows year-on-year decrease of 2.6% following reintroduction of full VAT rate

The latest FootFall data from Experian shows that FootFall in January was down 2.6% compared to the same month last year.  Compared to December, the Index droped by 29.4%.  Patterns throughout the country showed a diverse picture with no uniformity, with the largest year-on-year falls in FootFall seen in the North East (-7.91%) and North West (-5.87%), and the East Midlands showing a 4.08% decline. Regions that did perform well included South West & Wales (+5.56%) and the Eastern Region (+2.34%). 

“The year started with poor weather conditions affecting most of the UK.  This impacted the high street with FootFall showing a year-on-year decrease of 9.9% for the first week of the month" says Anita Manan, senior analyst, Experian FootFall. Although FootFall generally falls at this time of the year as shoppers’ focus moves away from shopping to repaying the first credit card bills of the New Year, the month showed an overall year-on-year decrease of 2.6%.”    

FootFall- regional breakdown

Regional Index Eastern 2.34 %
Regional Index East Midlands -4.08 %
Regional Index London -1.87 %
Regional Index North East -7.91 %
Regional Index North West -5.87 %
Regional Index Scotland -2.85 %
Regional Index South East -2.10 %
Regional Index South West and Wales 2.56 %
Regional Index West Midlands -3.68 %
Regional Index Yorkshire-Humber -3.91 %

Jonathan de Mello, director of retail and property, Experian comments: “Over 80 per cent of multiple retailers reported stellar Christmas trading numbers, but the indications are that 2010 will be challenging, with January 2010 FootFall down on a like for like basis vs January 2009.  Undoubtedly, the cold weather played a major part, but the reintroduction of VAT at 17.5% also had a significant impact, in the same way that the lower rate had a positive effect on December FootFall.

“Despite this, a range of lucrative property deals are available to retailers that have cash to expand, and retailers should look to exploit these opportunities now as, with most property development on hold for the next three years and eventual recovery, the balance of power will eventually shift back to the landlord. As well as careful, targeted expansion, closure of unprofitable stores is equally important in order to maintain margins, as many retailers, due to aggressive attempts to grab market share pre-2008, have a range of stores that now make them little or no money. Retailers can now attain significant coverage of the UK populace with a much smaller store footprint, and it is important that they identify the right locations for them in order to maximise their long-term trading potential.”

Peter Gutmann, managing consultant, Experian comments:“In terms of retail sales volumes, we believe January’s figures once released will highlight a testing month given the bad weather in the first two weeks, a higher VAT rate - which would have encouraged spending to be brought forward ahead of the January 1 deadline - and a surge in inflation. More worrying challenges for retailers lie further on the horizon. The likely increase in taxes and interest rates will mean the removal of two key props to incomes over the past year and it is questionable whether employment and wages will make up for the shortfall.”

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