Shopper numbers decline for second month in a row, says BRC
Footfall in May was 1.0% lower than a year ago, down from the 0.8% fall in April. This was below the three-month average of -0.5.
Both High Streets and Shopping Centres reported a decline, falling 1.5% and 2.0% respectively.
Footfall in out-of-town locations fared the best with a 1.4% increase year-on-year, an improvement on the 0.5% rise in April and a continuation of its positive trend.
Three regions reported positive footfall growth, with the greatest rises seen in the East and Greater London.
All three nations reported a decline in footfall in May, with Wales reporting the most notable fall (-4.3%), significantly below the UK average.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Helen Dickinson said: "The pace of change in the way we shop shows no sign of slowing. In fact, today's figures show the rate of decline in shopper numbers on our high streets and in shopping centres has slightly increased. Local government, town centre managers and retailers will need to continue to work together to refine their high street offer and give customers practical, positive reasons to return.
"It's vital that central government plays its part too. Retail can have a crucial role in delivering the Chancellor's ambitious northern powerhouse. But with shopper numbers in decline across the north, there is some distance to travel before our contribution will be realised. The BRC continues to ask the Chancellor to call time on the current business rates system which is stifling retailers ability to invest. If he takes bold action on rates in his upcoming Budget, a crucial barrier to retailers driving growth in the north and across the rest of the UK, will finally have been removed."
Springboard Marketing and Insights director Diane Wehrle said: ''The 1.0 per cent drop in footfall in May - a slight dip from the 0.8 per cent decrease in April - was driven by a worsening of high street footfall performance from a 0.1 per cent decline in April to a 1.5 per cent decline in May. Shopping centre footfall improved from a 3.0 per cent decline in April to a 2.0 per cent decline in May, however, this still leaves shopping centres with a reduced footfall.
''The negative position of high streets and shopping centres is in sharp contrast with the positive footfall result of 1.4 per cent in retail parks. Recording an increase in footfall for the past 17 consecutive months which has averaged 2.2 per cent, retail parks are clearly the winners in the grab for consumers across bricks and mortar retail destinations. This brings into sharp contrast the long term downward trend in high streets and shopping centres, where out of the last 17 months footfall has fallen in all but one month in high streets and two months in shopping centres.
''The success of retail parks is undoubtedly a function of owner driven change that has led to the introduction of a family based leisure offer in many out of town locations that previously fulfilled a purely functional role. This, in combination with plentiful and free car parking has enhanced the attraction of retail parks and improved their efficiency as click and collect locations for the ever increasing number of omni-channel shoppers. The high cost of parking in high streets and shopping centres, together with elongated travel times due to congestion means that urban destinations are at an obvious and increasing disadvantage.''
Source: Company Press Release