Steep drop in February footfall

Footfall in February fell by two per cent, a significant decline compared to the previous year, where it only fell by 0.2 per cent. This is the fifteenth month of consecutive decline and the weakest February in five years.

New data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard shows that high street footfall declined by 1.9 per cent in the four weeks from 27 January to 23 February 2019, marking seven consecutive months of weakening for this shopping location. This was a deeper decline relative to the previous year, when footfall fell by 1.2 per cent.

Elsewhere, while retail parks footfall grew in the same period last year by 1.4 per cent, this year levels declined sharply by 0.8 per cent

The East Midlands and Wales experienced notable growth in this shopping location of 3.0 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 3.4 per cent. No region experienced growth in this shopping location in February.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, BRC, said: “Consumers have been cautious in their spending, leading to the biggest drop in February footfall for five years. These figures echo the month’s poor Retail Sales figures, which saw weak growth, particularly in bricks-and-mortar stores. While real incomes have been rising over the last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a needs-not-wants approach top shopping.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director, added: “Footfall declined in all but one geography and in all but two areas the drop was greater than -2 per cent with a fall of just -1.4 per cent in Greater London.

“What would have seemed highly unlikely this time last year, is that there was a more modest decline in footfall during day time hours of -1.5 per cent compared with -3.3 per cent post 5pm.”

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