- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Retail footfall increased by 1.4 percent year-on-year in March as shoppers took to the shops because of the month’s milder weather, in comparison to last year’s ‘Beast from the East’, which saw footfall drop by 6 percent.
The figures from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, covering the five weeks from February 24 - March 30, reveals that high street footfall increased by 2.5 percent, against a decline of 8.6 percent in March 2018. This was above the three-month average growth of 0.2 percent.
While retail park footfall increased by 1.5 percent, compared to March 2018 when footfall decreased by 1.8 percent, and shopping Centre footfall fell by 1 percent, against a decline of 4.8 percent in March 2018, marking the 24th month of consecutive decline.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said in a statement: “At first sight the year-on-year rise in footfall of +1.4 percent in March appears to signify a reverse in trend from the previous two years, when footfall dropped in all but two of the past 22 months. However, whilst news of an improvement in footfall would be most welcome, it is simply not the case and instead the rise of +1.4 percent should be regarded as an exceptional circumstance relating to a dramatic slump in footfall in March 2018 of -6 percent. Indeed, this was by far the worst monthly result of the year and adversely influenced the outcome for footfall in 2018 as a whole.
“The result clearly indicates that we continue to be in the midst of a no splurge culture; with consumer confidence continuing to languish, shoppers are clearly focussed on prudence. This becomes very obvious when looking at footfall in each week; with the month being bookended by two strong weeks while footfall plunged in the middle three weeks.”
Retail footfall up 1.4 percent in March, however shopping centres mark 24th month of consecutive decline
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Retailers will be relieved to see footfall up from last year though this is was heavily influenced by the weather: while shoppers in 2018 were contending with the “Beast from the East”, this March has been mild by comparison. Unfortunately, the higher footfall has not translated into higher spending.
“The data also showed that shopping centres continue to suffer, with 24 consecutive months of decline in footfall. It is vital that all different shopping locations are fit for the future, offering the mix of retail and experience-led opportunities that generate the necessary footfall to succeed. Furthermore, Government can support this transformation by reforming the outdated business system which holds back firms from investing in physical space.”