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Retail footfall up 1.6% in January

Retail footfall rose 1.6% year-on-year in January to record its best performance since December 2011.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail footfall up 1.6% in January

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium in the BRC/Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor show that retail parks saw a 5.7% increase in the number of shoppers in January driven by a rise in demand for furniture.

Shopping centre footfall grew by 2.4% in the month but high streets experienced a 0.6% decline as the wet weather deterred people from shopping in outside locations.

Looking at the regions, Greater London reported the biggest increase in regional footfall with a rise of 3.2% year-on-year.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "More shoppers were out and about in January, with a solid 1.6% in overall footfall across the country. It's good news for retailers and it helps to explain the rise in sales we reported earlier in the month, demonstrating that UK shoppers were enthusiastically checking out the promotions available during the sales season."

The BRC figures also reveal that the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 11% in January 2014 compared to 11.1% in October.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: "Despite the tough trading conditions in retail locations over the second half of 2013, the drop in the vacancy rate from 11.1% to 11% indicates a degree of optimism about future trading conditions."

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