Heatwave stifled July footfall: BRC

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Tourists walk on the sun-baked Parliament Square on July 14, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Footfall saw a drop in July as record temperatures and the rising cost-of-living deterred people from visiting local shops.

According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data released today (5), total UK footfall decreased by 14.2 percent in July (Yo3Y), 3.7 percentage points worse than June. This is worse than the 3-month average decline of 12.3 percent.

Footfall on High Streets declined by 15.9 percent in July (Yo3Y), 2.0 percentage points worse than last month’s rate worse than the 3-month average decline of 14.4 percent. Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 9.1 percent (Yo3Y), 1.0 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and worse than the 3-month average decline of 8.2 percent.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 24.8 percent (Yo3Y), 0.7 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and above the 3-month average decline of 25.1 percent. Northern Ireland saw the shallowest footfall decline of all nations at -12.3 percent, followed by England at -14.0 percent and Wales at -15.8 percent, states BRC report, adding Scotland again saw the steepest decline at -16.5 percent.

Reacting to the data, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of BRC, said that following four months of steady progress, UK footfall stalled in July as record temperatures and the rising cost-of-living deterred people from visiting local shops.

“There was some respite in the last week of July, ahead of the Women’s Euros finals, as people stocked up on food and drink to watch the Lionesses bring footfall home. Meanwhile, footfall in Northern Ireland bucked the UK trend and improved slightly on the previous month,” Dickinson said.

“A new Prime Minister offers a renewed opportunity for the Conservative Party to meet its 2019 pledge for fundamental reform of the broken Business Rates system. The first step is scrapping the ‘downwards phasing’ part of Transitional Relief – a flawed system that prevent retailers paying what they owe, and instead would force them to overpay more than £1 billion between 2023 and 2026. This money could be better used to help limit price rises for customers, curb the rising cost-of-living and invest in the vitality of towns and cities around the country.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented, “July delivered a smorgasbord of summer disruption for retailers, as the ongoing rail strikes derailed footfall gains and the UK’s record-breaking heatwave saw shoppers shun the shops for several days as the temperatures soared.  Add to this the ongoing cautiousness we’re seeing among the cost-of-living consumer, it made for a bumpy month for shopper traffic performance.

“And amidst the tailwinds of economic uncertainty, comes possible policy changes as the Tory leadership contest plays out; retailers will be listening closely to how the next Tory leader plans to help the High Street, whilst hoping shoppers vote with their feet in August.”