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Footfall rises by 0.8% as shoppers return to the high street

Shoppers returned in February with total footfall figures rising by 0.8%, a bounce back from the 4.6% decline in January.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard Retail Footfall Monitor, the high street delivered the strongest performance with footfall rising 2.7% compared with the same month last year.

Footfall in shopping centres and out-of-town areas fell by 1.6% and 1.5% respectively, however this still represented an improvement on January’s figures.

Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said the disparity between the locations could be explained by the recent decline in multiples primarily located in shopping centres and retail parks, with high streets offering a wider diversity.

North & Yorkshire was the only region to report a decline on the high street, where footfall fell 2.7%. Greater London delivered the strongest growth of 5.8%.

The uplift in footfall supported the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, where total sales growth reached a three year high in February.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “This is a respectable result, which tallies with the signs of gradual improvement shown in our February sales figures. 

“Even though overall footfall is only marginally up on last year, the signs are that conversion rates were good. New ranges gave shoppers a spring in their step and end-of-season promotions also proved popular.”

She added: “February 2013 was generally milder than the snow-hit month we saw the previous year, which is a surefire factor behind high streets posting their best result since December 2011. This is definitely the standout story for February, but it’s only the third time in 12 months that high street footfall rates have edged over zero. 

“Retailers will be hoping that Wednesday’s Budget delivers concrete measures to build on this boost and put more money in people’s pockets.”

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