According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard Footfall Monitor for June 2013, retail footfall was 0.1% higher than a year ago, up from a 0.7% decline in May. High street (1.4%) and out-of-town (0.6%) locations both reported footfall increases above the UK average. The footfall trend in shopping centre locations remained in negative territory, falling 3% from a 1.7% decline in May.
Greater London (2.4%), Wales (2.3%), the West Midlands (1.3%) and Scotland (1.2%) all reported a rise in footfall above the UK average. In the first six months of 2013, footfall fell on average 1.5% compared with a 2.9% decline during the same period in 2012.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, says: “The UK High Street was busier in June, and BRC figures show that footfall has increased as we have seen shoppers take advantage of the good promotions available at the moment in stores. The relatively strong UK wide figures are reflected in modest increases in footfall in out-of-town retail, although shopping centres did not perform quite so well.
“The improvement in the weather may well have contributed to this. Our recent retail sales figures showed a strong performance from fashion and footwear and it is likely that shoppers took advantage of the start of the sunshine in June to visit their local high street and buy items for their summer wardrobes.
“As we have seen in recent months, the increase in footfall was not universal across the country. BRC figures continue to show regional and national variations. London and the West Midlands saw the best performances in England. In Wales and Scotland, the high street also had a good month.”
Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, says: “The high street once again recorded a better footfall performance than shopping centres, with an annual increase in footfall of 1.4% in June, compared with a decline of 3% in shopping centres. Over the quarter to the end of June, high streets outperformed both shopping centres and out-of-town locations by a significant margin.
“All of the increase in footfall in June came about from just four areas in the UK – Scotland, Greater London, West Midlands and Wales – with Greater London and Wales performing particularly strongly, with a 2.4% increase in Greater London and 2.3% in Wales.
“In part, the more favourable performance of high streets can be put down to the fact that they underwent a greater decline in footfall than managed shopping locations in previous years, and so start from a lower base. However, the benefit of high streets being 'open for business' 24 hours a day is also key, as it is footfall which falls outside usual retail trading hours - rather than between 9am and 5pm - which is improving, and clearly shielding high streets against the ill winds of a long term decline in customer numbers.”