Retail footfall slipped by 1.6% across the UK in January, the worst slide for the month since 2013.
Figures released by the British Retail Consortium’s Springboard footfall monitor show high street footfall fell by 1.9% in January, a deeper decline than in the same period a year ago. Shopping centre footfall was down by 3.1%.
Although all regions saw a drop in footfall, the sharpest decline was in Scotland, where footfall tumbled by 4.6%.
However, national town centre vacancy rates rallied, down from 9.3% in October last year to 8.9% in January. This was largely due to reduced vacancy rates in greater London, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director said: “A drop in footfall of -1.6% is an improvement on December’s -3.5%, but it is the worst result for January since 2013. So it is clear that the challenges facing bricks and mortar retailing are continuing to build - the -1.9% decline in high street footfall is more than double the -0.8% in January 2017 and shopping centre footfall continues to languish at -3.1% following a drop of -3% in January last year.
“Whilst footfall dropped, the vacancy rate strengthened over the quarter to 8.9% from 9.3% in October, but caution is needed in reading too much into this as it reflects short term occupier demand in the lead up to Christmas and is a trend that replicates previous years.”