High street footfall falling despite warm weather spike

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The recent unseasonal sunshine hasn’t been enough to reverse the ailing fortunes of high street traders with footfall in February falling by 2%, the fifteenth month of consecutive decline.

According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), this is a significant decline compared to the previous year where it fell by 0.2%. It also represented the weakest February in five years.

High Street footfall specifically declined by 1.9%, marking seven consecutive months of weakening for this shopping location.

This was a deeper decline relative to the previous year when footfall fell by 1.2%.

Retail Parks footfall declined by 0.8%, a sharp decline on last year when it grew by 1.4%. The East Midlands and Wales experienced notable growth in this shopping location of 3.0% and 1.4%, respectively.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 3.4%, a deeper decline than last year’s fall of 0.9%. No region experienced growth in this shopping location in February.

Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC Chief-Executive, said: “Consumers have been cautious in their spending, leading to the biggest drop in February footfall for five years.

“These figures echo the month’s poor Retail Sales figures, which saw weak growth, particularly in bricks-and-mortar stores.

“While real incomes have been rising over the last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a needs-not-wants approach top shopping.

“Things could get a lot worse unless the Government is able to avoid a calamitous no deal Brexit. Such a scenario would likely result in higher costs, higher prices and less choice for consumers – all of which would further harm struggling retailers.

“The Government must act to protect both consumers and retailers by ensuring there is no chance of a no deal Brexit.”