Shoppers continue to shun the high street as visitor numbers fall
The number of shoppers heading to the high street, retail parks and shopping centres has fallen by 10% in just seven years, new data has revealed.
This included a fall of 1.7% in September compared with the same month last year and means the three-month average fall in shoppers visiting physical stores fell 1.6%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.
Shopping centres suffered the most in the last month – partly due to several days of unusually warm September weather – with visitor numbers down 3.2% compared with the same month a year ago.
The high street also took a hit, again thanks to the weather with heavy rain in the final week of September, with footfall down 1.8% during the period, but retail parks saw a slight increase of 0.1%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Retailers are facing a sustained drop in footfall, with numbers of visitors down over 10% in the last seven years alone.
“With Brexit looming, many consumers are holding off from all but essential purchases, and it is no surprise that the 1.7% drop in footfall has also contributed to a similar fall in sales.
“High streets and shopping centres were hit hardest with retail parks faring slightly better as they continue to entice shoppers with their varied consumer offering.”
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, added: “Given the monumental changes that have occurred in our retail trading landscape over the past decade, it is unsurprising that the long-term footfall trend is a downward one.
“However, with 80% of spend remaining in store there is still much for bricks and mortar stores to play for in the fourth quarter of 2019, which of course includes the all-important festive trading period.”