Retail footfall down 0.8% in October
Retail footfall in October was 0.8% down on the same month last year, but up on the 0.9% fall in September.
According to the figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, shopping centres experienced the biggest decline with footfall dropping by 1.9% while high streets reported a 1.4% fall.
Meanwhile, footfall in out-of-town locations fared the best with a 1.9% increase year-on-year.
The BRC said that some local areas needed to do more to help boost footfall.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “In order to drive up footfall, some local areas need to continue to learn from more successful town centres by encouraging pop-ups, using empty premises as community spaces or even as arts venues to ensure that empty shops don’t become a blight on the local area.”
Four regions in England reported footfall above the UK average. The East Midlands, South East, East and North & Yorkshire saw rise rises of 2%, 1.5%, 0.8% and 0.5% respectively.
Northern Ireland reported the largest decline in its footfall rate at 5.3% - the first decline in footfall since July 2014. Footfall in Scotland edged up 0.5% while Wales experienced its ninth consecutive month of declining footfall of 3.1% on the previous year.
The figures also show that the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 10.3% in October 2014, an increase from July’s rate of 10.1%.
Dickinson added: “Digital connectivity is vital as the lines between online and bricks and mortar retailing become increasingly blurred. We also need to make investment in property improvements attractive again for businesses - the chief way to achieve this will be through fundamental reform of the Business Rates system.
“We also know that well managed retail destinations whether in or out of town continue to do well in terms of customer visits. We must ensure we apply the same principles more widely in order to encourage shoppers to return.”
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