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Online shopping and warm weather hit September footfall

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%.

Readers' comments (5)

  • I've got a tip for the retailers-it could be seen as radical.
    Don't bring your heavy winter stock in so early!!

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  • I agree with the comment about winter stock but pressure from suppliers regarding buying Cruise/Pre-Collections to have in store early is the reason why winter collections are put out so soon . Many suppliers force these first deliveries on independents and they have to be paid for, so that's why the stock is put out earlier than needed . Also if independents don't buy the pre- collections they will loose business as these earlier deliveries will be on-line with the major sites and the consumer is bombarded with magazine articles about buying early so either way small independents have a difficult decision to make. Helene Rapaport

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  • Completely agree with Helen, as an indie, we have to take stock in and only have a certain window to get it all in by. We have to compete with all the big stores and although we don't have to have the same quantities, we lose sales from not having pre collections etc. Online shopping, price matching and other offers that the big stores offer and more regularly than they used to have an affect on all us smaller independants!

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  • Pre-collections are not in question.
    My issue is why take in real winter goods when it is still mild and then complain you can't sell them.
    The major sites are complaining about the same things but you all still just accept it.
    If someone has the bottle to wait the others will follow but it probably needs to be one of the big boys first.
    Why not discuss it at one of your forums Drapers?

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  • There is no common sense in retail. Period.

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