BRC releases January retail footfall findings

Published on: February 13th, 2018

New data shows that high street and shopping centre footfall is down, while retail park footfall has increased.

Footfall declined by 1.6% in January, a deeper decrease than the rate of 1.3% seen in January 2017.

Data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that all regions experienced a drop in footfall with the sharpest decline seen in Scotland at 4.6%. This was followed by the South West and The East where footfall was down 2.6% and 2.5% respectively.

In Greater London footfall dropped by 1.2% compared to December’s fall of 3.7%.

High street footfall was down 1.9% across the month while footfall in shopping centres declined by 3.1%.

Meanwhile, retail park footfall edged up 0.9%.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, commented: “January painted a picture of divided fortunes with a slight improvement in town vacancy rates but decline in shopper footfall. The latter fell in line with the underlying trend of reduced customer activity in shopping destinations, compounded by the squeeze on discretionary spending. Meanwhile retail sales continue to be buoyed by inflation, masking the lack of real growth.”

The BRC’s data also reveals that the national town centre vacancy rate was 8.9% in January 2018, down from 9.3% in October 2017.

Helen added: “The more positive picture for vacancy rates over the last quarter is marginal. The Christmas trading period traditionally sees a boost in temporary lets, as landlords get creative with the flexible use of space to create pop-ups. This was particularly evident in London this year due to its denser physical retail offer. The long term trend is that vacancies remain stubbornly at around 9%, albeit much higher in many areas.”

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