High Streets footfall in the UK showed a rise in January, states a recent report, citing more trips into the office and international tourism for the the increase.
According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data, high streets footfall increased by 20.2 per cent in January (YoY), 0.5 percentage points better than last month’s rate and better than the 3-month average increase of 15.2 per cent.
Shopping Centre footfall increased by 12.4 per cent in January (YoY), 1.0 percentage points worse than last month’s rate but better than the 3-month average increase of 10.2 per cent.
Overall, footfall increased by 12.5 per cent in January (YoY), 2.6 percentage points worse than December but better than the 3-month average increase of 10.3 per cent.
Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 3.5 per cent in January (YoY), 1.9 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and worse than the 3-month average decline of 2.9 per cent.
England saw the highest increase in footfall of all nations and regions at +16.2 per cent, followed by Wales at +14.6 per cent and Scotland at +12.2 per cent. Northern Ireland saw the lowest increase at +9.1 per cent.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels (Yo4Y), Total Footfall decreased by 6.5 per cent; High Streets by 8.5 per cent, Retail Parks decreased by 7.7 per cent, and Shopping Centres by 25.2 per cent.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that footfall saw strong growth this month as employees made more trips into the office and international tourism improved, compared with last year when some Covid restrictions were in place.
“Growth was most pronounced in high streets and shopping centres as many shoppers sought out a bargain in the January sales. Meanwhile, retail parks faltered as the cost of living crisis put many shoppers off buying big-ticket home products often located there.
“Retailers will welcome this recovery, and despite the cost of living squeeze, footfall has continued towards its pre-pandemic levels. The challenge for retailers will be to convert this extra footfall into sales, at a time when many consumers are reining in their discretionary spending. Government could capitalise on the growth in tourism by reintroducing VAT-free shopping to help entice even more international shoppers to the UK.”
Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented that high street performance started off the year on a positive footing, with total UK footfall seeing a robust rise on 2021 levels.
“Shopper counts rallied despite the threat of disruption from ongoing rail strikes, cold snaps and shaky consumer confidence. While retailers will take heart from the demand signals that bricks-and-mortar remains shoppers’ channel of choice, footfall levels hover stubbornly just below pre-pandemic levels, even though January saw the highest recovery point in the past year.
“With the economic outlook continuing to put inflationary pressures on consumers’ discretionary spend and, facing inflationary pressures of their own across their manufacturing, supply chain and labour costs, retailers will once again have to run even faster to stand still. This will put the emphasis squarely on doubling down on operational efficiencies, as well as focusing on core ranging that delivers value to price-sensitive shoppers.”