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Footfall to urban shopping locations continues to fall

Footfall fell 1.2% year on year across all retail locations in January, compared to a 1.6% increase in the same month last year.

Shopping centres reported the largest decline at 2.8% last month, followed by high streets at 1.6%, while out-of-town locations once again fared the best with a 1.5% increase, according to figures from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium.

Four regions in England enjoyed higher footfall last month than in the same period last year, with the East up by 1.2%, the Southeast up by 1%, Greater London by 0.7% and the West Midlands by 0.7%.

Wales reported the largest decline in its footfall rate, down 4.6%, while Scotland reported its first footfall decline since June 2014, down 3%. Numbers in Northern Ireland decreased by 2.4%.

“While high streets and shopping centres still account for the majority of our shopping floor space, the ongoing strengthening of out-of-town locations is clear evidence that our urban shopping locations are losing market share,” said Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard.

“Without doubt this is due to both the challenge of the internet and the convenience of out-of-town locations for click-and-collect, as they offer plentiful, accessible parking that is free of charge.”

The town centre vacancy rate was 10.4%, a slight increase from October’s figure of 10.3%.

@Tara_Hounslea

Readers' comments (1)

  • Urban parking doesn't have to be free, but it needs to be less expensive. It's a barrier to browsing and impulse purchases in stores.

    Retailers and councils need to trial. I would choose a day or week that is traditionally quietest and test over 6 months. Hardly rocket science...

    Pricing is also poorly considered. It should be free for first hour and get progressively more expensive for staying longer. It's often the other way around.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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