Turbulent weather dampens retail footfall

Total UK footfall decreased by 28 per cent in July, compared with the same month in 2019, the British Retail Consortium has reported. This was a 0.4 per cent decrease from June this year.

The BRC-Sensormatic IQ footfall monitor showed footfall on high streets declined by 34.6 per cent in July, against the same period two years before – also 1.2 per cent below last month’s rate. Retail park footfall dropped by 15 per cent, while shopping centre footfall declined by 38.4 per cent, which was 2.6 per cent down on the previous month.

For the third consecutive month, Northern Ireland showed the shallowest footfall decline of all regions, followed by Wales and Scotland. England suffered the deepest decline at -28.7 per cent.

By city, London saw the biggest drop in footfall (-38.8 per cent), while Bristol fared better with a decline of -26.2 per cent.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “After improvements in footfall in the early part of 2021, the situation has plateaued with little change in footfall levels for a third month in a row. The turbulent weather, with initial heatwaves giving over to torrential rain, appears to have dampened the mood for shopping in July, with a particularly pronounced fall in footfall at retail parks.

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “Even the hotly debated ‘Freedom Day’ failed to significantly shift the dial on shopper counts, perhaps losing some of its ‘shine’ to the EURO’s which brought forward shopping and socialising trips to earlier in the month.

“And in a tale of two halves, Freedom Day may have split consumer confidence, with those revelling in newfound freedoms increasing the frequency of their shopping trips, while those concerned about the relaxation of restrictions on social distancing and mask-wearing becoming more inclined to stay away.”