Sales & Marketing

Retail footfall boosted as consumers hit the shops

1 min read

17 February 2014

Retail footfall in January was 1.6 per cent higher than in the same month last year, and shop vacancies have fallen slightly, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Its Footfall/Vacancies Monitor showed the most promising footfall figures since December 2011.

“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,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at analysts Springboard, said: “This result demonstrates that whilst the growth of online retailing continues apace, retail destinations remain attractive to shoppers and that retailers’ approach in delivering a multichannel offer is the right one.”

However there are signs this increase is not filtering through to high streets, which saw a 0.6 per cent fall in footfall versus a 5.7 per cent increase for retail parks and 2.4 per cent boost for shopping centres.

Wehrle added: “All of the annual increase in footfall was driven by visits to shopping centres and particularly to retail parks, rather than to high streets, although this is likely to be a combination of the adverse impact of the ongoing rain on visits to external environments and the demand for furniture which drives visits to retail parks and supported January’s strong sales results.”

Though town centre vacancies fell slightly, they still remain high at 11 per cent.

Dickinson added: “Empty shops hurt local economies, and there still a need to reduce the costs of operating property by reforming the business rates system.”

Image source