Footfall on high streets in the UK dropped 2.9% year-on-year in February, as tough retail conditions continue.
Chelmsford High Street by Ambernectar13 Flickr CC
In total footfall slipped 1.1% last month compared to February 2015, according to figures from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium.
Visitors to shopping centres dwindled, down 0.6%, but retail parks recorded 2.5% rise, partly as a result of additional recreational attractions such as restaurants and entertainment.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “Visits are becoming increasingly focused out of town and in the early evening, with footfall after 5pm rising since January 2014 whilst dropping during the daytime period. The “5pm to 8pm social” period are becoming important trading hours with spend focussed towards hospitality and leisure, and destinations with a buoyant restaurant offer, providing the right environment and price points make out of home dining and socialising easy, attractive and affordable.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, added: “Retailers are competing with each other harder than ever. The business of retailing is increasingly complex as technology continues to drive changes in the way we shop. Recent policy announcements, in particular the National Living Wage and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, will increase the pace of some of these changes as well as the cumulative burden faced by retailers.
We hope that the chancellor in his forthcoming Budget will recognise both the burdens facing retailers as well as our importance to the UK’s economy and communities. The government must support retailers to allow us to continue to invest and play our part in a strong recovery.”