Retail footfall down 2.4% in April
The figures from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard in their monthly footfall and vacancies monitor show that high streets saw the biggest decline with footfall down 4.7% in April. Footfall in shopping centres edged down 0.7% although retail parks saw an uplift of 1.1%.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “Today’s figures will make sobering reading for retailers battling to attract customers into their shops.
“Ultimately these are clear examples of the challenges that UK retailers face at the moment. Taken together today’s figures tangibly demonstrate the impact of the structural change happening in our industry.
“It’s clear that retailers, local authorities and the Government need to redouble their combined efforts to mitigate the impact of this change on our high streets and town centres.”
The national town centre vacancy rate was 9.6% in April, up from 8.7% in January. This is the first time the vacancy rate has risen since the start of 2015 but remains broadly in line with the average over the last year.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “April’s footfall figures certainly echo the high street decline seen over recent months, which can be attributable to the poor weather for this time of year, but with digital sales and retail parks also slowing down it signifies something more at play.
“The rise in unemployment and economic uncertainty in this pre EU referendum period has undoubtedly adversely impacted consumer activity. We know that cuts in retail spending are the first line of defence against threats to household budgets when consumer confidence is knocked.”
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