Footfall at retail parks continued to decline in February, falling by 1.6%, Springboard has reported.
The retail data provider also found that shopping centres also experienced a dip in numbers, falling by 2.6% from last year. However, high street footfall rose by 0.1%, boosted by dining out and leisure activities.
“Increasing uncertainty arising from the imminent triggering of Article 50 has certainly started to have an impact on purchasing behaviour, the types of destinations shoppers are visiting and how they spend their money,” said marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle.
“High streets are clearly benefiting as the destination of choice for dining and leisure, while shopping centres continue to underperform as they struggle with a weak entertainment and leisure offer, coupled with increasing caution among consumers around retail spend.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “There has been a steeper drop than normal in retail parks, with footfall to this shopping destination falling at the fastest rate since November 2013. In comparison, footfall on the high street grew marginally, likely driven by its diverse offer.”
Dickinson also said the business rate relief fund announced in last week’s Budget would provide only “temporary” help to those worst hit: “It won’t however ease the burden for the majority of retailers who will continue to pay nearly a half of rental values in property tax. A business tax system that continues to curtail investment in bricks and mortar is at odds with an industry that desperately wants to invest to maintain local jobs, and build more experience and engagement with shoppers to attract them into their stores.”