Brexit uncertainty, weak consumer confidence, and declining sales has caused a drop in UK footfall by 1.3 percent in August, new data from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed.

Covering the four weeks from July 28 to August 24, the data shows that the total UK footfall declined by 1.3 percent, compared with the same period last year, when it declined by 1.6 percent. On a three-month basis, footfall decreased by 2.1 percent. The six and twelve-month average declines were 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

High street footfall declined by 1.9 percent, following from the decrease of 2 percent August last year, while retail park footfall increased by 1 percent, and shopping centre footfall declined by 2.2 percent, compared with the same period last year when it declined 2.4 percent.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director said in a statement: “In the face of weak consumer confidence and declining sales a drop in footfall of -1.3 percent in August wasn't unexpected. We must remember that declining footfall is a long term trend with annual increases being the exception rather than the rule. Indeed, footfall has declined in every year since Springboard started publishing its national data in January 2009.

“On a positive note, August had the strongest footfall over the summer months, and it was also an improvement on last year when footfall declined by -1.6 percent. This month’s result was bolstered by the final week of the month when the hottest August bank holiday on record improved footfall from -1.4 to -0.6 percent.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Retail footfall continues its downwards trajectory this month, with high streets and shopping centres most affected. The long-term trend, which has seen footfall decline by an average of 1.7 percent over the last twelve months, reflects the fact that increasingly cautious consumers are holding back on discretionary spending and not heading out to the shops. Only Retail Parks, with their combination of activities and shopping, were able to buck the trend.

“There is little sign that the stresses on retail will abate any time soon. Stuck between weak demand thanks to Brexit uncertainty, and rising costs resulting from business rates and other public policy costs, many retailers are clearly struggling. The Government should take the opportunity to reduce the heavy cost burden holding back retail investment.”

 

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