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Dismal weather on bank holiday weekend drives footfall in UK’s shopping centres

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Retail analytics firm Springboard has reported that footfall at shopping destinations across the UK rose by 3.4 per cent year-on-year for the long weekend of Saturday to Monday 29-31 August, which was powered by the combined efforts of the back to school rush and payday.

Indeed, the wet weather also played its part and pushed Brits into shopping centres and retails parks, which achieved a footfall increase of 6.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.

The sheltered locations were favoured among shoppers ahead of the open air alternative offered by the high street, which experienced a 4.1 per cent decline on Sunday while shopping centres surged by 11 per cent on the same day.

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The footfall growth of retail parks is an ongoing trend for 2015 and has been attributed to the improved leisure facilities, such as dining, and click and collect options available. Monday was particularly fruitful for retailers at the venues, as customer traffic rose by 14.7 per cent on 2014.

The high street, meanwhile, was unable to be a key contributor over the period. Despite a 6.3 per cent footfall spike forecast for what was expected to be a bright bank holiday, it actually declined by 0.1 per cent.

“There is much evidence to say that consumer confidence is at a high and it certainly shows in the strong footfall figures seen over the bank holiday weekend,” said
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard.

“Favourable inflation rates, low unemployment and UK-wide pay rises are enabling shoppers to spend in comfort and they were out in force across UK shopping centres and retail parks this weekend, enjoying the benefit of the August payday falling before the long weekend and just in time ahead of the new school term.”

In related news, consumer spending is set to grow further still, following the contactless transactions limit being increased from £20 to £30 on 1 September.

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