Footfall down in February as rain washes away hopes for bounce back
Retail footfall dropped by 4.9% in February after the month’s rainy weather discouraged people from shopping in high streets.
Figures from Springboard show that high street footfall declined by 7.8%, while the number of visits to shopping centres and retail parks fell by 2.5% and 1.1% respectively.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights directo, said: “If further proof of the fragility of high streets were needed, it was provided in February when the impact of the severe and ongoing rain led to a drop in footfall of -7.8%. Whilst an average of 17 days of rain across the UK over the month led to shoppers staying away from high streets, shopping centres and retail parks still appealed to many by virtue of either their covered environment or ease of access and proximity of parking, which in retail parks is free of charge.”
Springboard said the average decline of 1.1% for shopping centres in the first two months of 2020 compared to a 2.5% drop in the same period of 2019, shows that the destinations are about to achieve some level of footfall stability. It said larger shopping centres are leading the recovery.
Meanwhile, coronavirus had little impact on footfall in the month.
Wehrle added: “The month ended before the warning of its increased severity in the UK was made, and so moving forward it is likely that shopper activity will be stemmed as consumers become more wary about interacting in public spaces. Whilst it seems that the first quarter of 2020 will yield yet more challenges for bricks-and-mortar retailers, experience has proven that footfall bounces back quickly once the immediate period of concern has passed.”
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