Footfall fell by 2% in February, marking the 15th consecutive month of decline.
British Retail Consortium-Springboard reported a significant decline compared with February 2018, when footfall dropped by 0.2%. It was the weakest February in five years.
Shopping centre footfall declined by 3.4%, a larger decline than last year’s fall of 0.9%. No region experienced growth in shopping centres in February.
High street footfall 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%, compared with a 1.4% increase in February 2018. However, the East Midlands and Wales experienced growth on retail parks of 3% and 1.4%, respectively.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, 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 to 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.”