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Sunshine gives high street footfall a boost in June

Published: 19 July 2017 - Fiona Garcia
 

Footfall in June was up 0.8% on a year ago, easing it ahead of the three-month average of 0.5%.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “The arrival of summer spurred greater shopper footfall in the majority of retail destinations in June. High streets and retail parks saw solid growth in footfall, as shoppers headed out to renew their wardrobes and purchase other seasonal items. Most parts of the UK benefitted from these sun fuelled shopping outings, with the East of England especially witnessing brisk growth.

On a three-month basis, footfall grew 0.5%, which was a slight reduction against past two months of 0.7%. However, high street footfall rose 0.9% in June on the previous year’s rate of -3.7% - a total five basis points above the three-month average of 0.4%.

Footfall in retail park locations grew by 2.3% during the month, compared to a 1% decrease in June 2016. This comes after a 1.5% rise in May, and is below the three-month average of 2.2%.

Meanwhile, footfall in shopping centres fell by 0.8% in June on the -2.3% rate in June 2016. This is marginally above the three-month average of -0.9%.

Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “The rise in footfall of +0.8% in June is a result that tells a different story to the sales statistics we are seeing, with the Springboard Sales Tracker recording drops in sales in department stores of -1.6% and of -2.3% in fashion stores.  However, sales do present a very varied picture, dependent on the breadth of the measure used and inflationary pressures which push sales values up.

She explained that the uplift in footfall in June, compared with the -1% drop in May, and its divergence from sales, could be attributed to a number of factors, including improved weather, as well as out-of-hours shopping.

Ms Wehrle continued: “The weather was far better than in June last year, which encourages consumers to visit bricks-and-mortar destinations, particularly external environments such as high streets and retail parks. Also, in recent months, we have seen rising footfall in the hours after 5pm, illustrating the trend in consumer behaviour towards leisure trips after retail trading hours, demonstrated by the rise in hospitality sales of +0.3% in June.

“In June, however, the better weather supported the increase in footfall during daytime hours. Indeed, the cumulative impact of both these factors accounts for the weaker footfall performance in shopping centres compared with high streets and retail parks.”

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE added: “Amidst economic uncertainty and mounting concern over the inflationary squeeze on household incomes, sustaining growth in shopper footfall will be challenging, more so as retailers seek to convert that into an improved performance at tills. And, while they step up their efforts to keep prices down for their customers against rising input prices and inflation, the Government can help alleviate the cost pressures in the immediate term by sticking to their commitment on business rates reform to deliver a system fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

 

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