Footfall across all retail destinations fell by 0.9% in September, with consumers making less visits to indoor shopping centres due to the warm weather and ‘changing’ shopping habits.
Out-of-town destinations reported the only rise of 0.5% compared with a year ago, driven by positive sales of furniture and household goods rather than fashion, according to data from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium. Footfall in shopping centres and high street locations fell by 2.6% and 0.6% respectively.
“As online sales increase overall, we can see how shopping is changing and retailers are adapting,” said Helen Dickinson, director-general of the BRC. “The industry is working hard on providing great online shopping experiences for consumers and this too impacts footfall.
“However, with Christmas fast approaching, footfall is only set to increase on the high street, out-of-town and in shopping centres.”
Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, added: “The drop in footfall of 0.9% is modest and better than the drop of 1.1% recorded in August. However, if the weather had been more akin to the norm for this time of the year, it is likely the result would have been far more favourable.
“Being dominated by fashion – and the fact that it was fashion that was the hardest hit – it is not surprising that the greatest toll is on shopping centres, although the degree of increase in footfall in out-of-town locations that we have come to expect is also greatly reduced.”
There were regional variations in the figures, with Scotland experiencing the greatest increase in footfall at 2%, followed by 1.4% in the Southeast of England and 0.2% in Northern Ireland. In the West Midlands, numbers dropped by 5.6%.