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    Slow start to spring as footfall drops

    (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

    Footfall all over the UK was impacted by poor weather last month, shows industry data released today (3). The footfall saw a decline in all locations except Edinburgh, where footfall was positive owing to the investment in local shopping locations.

    According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data, total UK footfall decreased by 7.2 per cent in April (YoY), down from -1.3% in March while high Street footfall decreased by 6.9 per cent in April (YoY). Retail Park footfall decreased by 6.2 per cent in April (YoY) while shopping centre footfall decreased by 7.2 per cent in April.

    Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC Chief Executive, said, “While UK footfall was impacted by poor weather last month, this was artificially exacerbated by the comparison with 2023, when Easter was in April. All locations saw declines on the previous month, and nearly all major cities performed similarly poorly. However, there was good news in Edinburgh, where footfall was positive once again owing to the investment in local shopping locations in the Scottish capital over the past few years.

    “It is now vital that elected councillors, mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners all play their part in designing the right planning, transport and neighbourhood safety policies to create thriving shopping destinations in communities across the country. These actions, locally and nationally, can contribute to boosting footfall and revitalising retail centres,” she added.

    Bira, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, expressed concerns about the drop in footfall and its potential impact on smaller retailers.

    Reacting to the figures, Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira said, “The timing of Easter last year (April vs March this year) distorts the figures, but there are still some very worrying signs for the independent retailer. Consumer confidence is still low and fragile and we need economic growth to bring people back to the high streets. We also need the newly elected councillors and mayors to ensure that high streets are safe, attractive and accessible to everyone if we are to reverse the decline in footfall.”

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