Footfall rises 0.8% in February
The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows that total footfall rose 0.8% year- on-year in February, compared to a 4.6% decline in January. Footfall on high streets grew by 2.7%, the strongest growth since December 2011. Footfall in shopping centres dropped 1.6% while out-of-town locations saw a 1.5% fall. However, the declines still represented a significant improvement on January's figures.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: "This is a respectable result, which tallies with the signs of gradual improvement shown in our February sales figures. Even though overall footfall is only marginally up on last year, the signs are that conversion rates were good. New ranges gave shoppers a spring in their step and end-of-season promotions also proved popular."
The BRC attributed the rise in high street footfall to the milder weather in February compared to the snow-hit month in the previous year.
Dickinson added: "This is definitely the standout story for February, but it's only the third time in twelve months that high street footfall rates have edged over zero. Retailers will be hoping that Wednesday's Budget delivers concrete measures to build on this boost and put more money in people's pockets."
The BRC noted the link between the number of shops and shoppers in the month. The lowest footfall was seen in the North and Yorkshire, the areas with England's highest vacancies rates.
Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said: "For the high street, one swallow does not make a summer, but these results might hint at the green shoots of recovery, or at least some stabilisation in the current environment."
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