The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) said a recent report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showing that footfall had decreased for shoppers has a “glimmer” of hope for the high street.
The BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor report for June showed that footfall slowed during the June heatwave.
However, the footfall on the high street increased slightly by +0.6 per cent (YOY) which was up from 0.5 per cent in May.
The report showed that:
- Total UK footfall decreased by -1.9 per cent in June (YoY), up from -2.8 per cent in May. This is worse than the 3-month rolling average, which improved to -1.1 per cent.
- High Street footfall increased by +0.6 per cent in June (YoY), up from -0.5 per cent in May. This is worse than the 3-month rolling average, which improved to +1.1 per cent.
- Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by -2.6 per cent in June (YoY), up from -4.1 per cent in May. This is worse than the 3-month rolling average, which improved to +1.8 per cent.
- Shopping Centre footfall decreased by -4.2 per cent in June (YoY), up from -4.8 per cent in May. This is worse than the 3-month rolling average, which improved to +2.9 per cent.
“Footfall is down and we do need government support but the high street is leading on retail recovery as this report shows that business parts and shopping centres are still low when it comes to shoppers,” said Jeff Moody, Commercial Director of Bira.
“The decrease in footfall reflects the ongoing impact of changing shopping patterns and the influence of external factors such as the weather. Figures for June show that the year-on-year footfall data indicated an increase during the early months of the year, with January showing a notable increase compared to the previous year, followed by February and March with smaller yet positive increases.
“The trend then shifted negatively in May, displaying a decrease compared to the previous year, which persists in June, with the Footfall index down -1.9 per cent on June 22.
“There is some positive news for Independent retailers in that the high street footfall showed some improvement of .6 per cent whilst the Retail Park Footfall dropped 2.6 per cent in June and Shopping Centre Footfall dropped a massive 4.2 per cent in June.
“Whilst we know the cost of living is impacting heavily on retail shopping figures , we feel action now by the government to change the cumbersome burden of business rates which are crippling struggling retailers at present, would aid investment in the sector which could lead to rejuvenated High Streets which is where most consumers wish to spend their money,” he added.
Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC Chief Executive, said: “Footfall was down on June last year as the hot weather meant that people opted to enjoy the outdoors. Shopping patterns are still finding a new balance, as the high cost of living is affecting people’s habits and choices. We saw fewer visits to shopping centres and retail parks than last year. But High Street locations were busier and footfall in major cities also improved, thanks to an increase in international tourism.
“The UK is the only European destination without tax-free shopping: Government must capitalise on the uptick in tourism by reintroducing VAT relief for overseas visitors to boost the UK’s attractiveness compared to other destinations and stimulate spending. Government should also seek to mitigate the impact of the slew of cost pressures continuing to bear down on the industry, including new regulation and an inflationary whack to business rates next spring.”