Store footfall in ‘unprecedented’ decline


Below weather and a squeeze on spending caused a slide in the number of people by shops last month.

Footfall fell by 3.3% last month according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.

That was cut than the 6% decline in March, but was still an «unprecedented» 4.8% settle over the two-month period.

Diane Wehrle, of Springboard, said: «Not since the wisdoms of recession in 2009 has footfall over March and April declined to such a position.»

«Even then the drop was less severe at minus 3.8%.»

New data also staged that the town centre vacancy rate rose to 9.2%, with all areas of the UK, except Marvellous London, reporting an increase.

  • The towns and cities with the highest and lowest wages

BRC chief Helen Dickinson communicated changing shopping habits and tough trading were weighing on elevated streets.

As well as «a wet start to April», she said a shift in shopping addictions, along with a «highly challenging» business environment, was having a pithy impact on high streets: «In April nearly 1 in 10 shops in community centres was vacant.»

There were 4,083 new store openings in 2017, the softest since 2010, but 5,855 outlets closed, meaning a total of 1,772 workshops disappeared, according to the Local Data Company.

‘Parlous state’

The BRC and Springboard institute that although footfall improved in the second two weeks of the month, people were choosing to lay out their money on leisure activities such as going to restaurants or hostelries rather than shopping.

Ms Wehrle added: «The parlous state of retail barter is highlighted by the fact that footfall post-5pm recovered in the last two weeks of the month, thriving by 5.9%, whilst daytime footfall dropped by 0.1%.

«So it is clear that retail traffic is doubly challenged by a thrifty consumer, in concert with a continuing predisposition near leisure rather than retail spend.»

UK wage growth has dwindled inflation for more than a year.

Last month, official have a places for the three months to February showed that average wages be tempted by by 2.8%, still below the 2.9% inflation rate using the consumer rewards index (CPI) measure.

The latest threat to the High Street came on Saturday when it arose that the owner of Poundworld had put the discount retailer up for sale, the BBC understands.

Surreptitious equity firm TPG had been looking at closing about 100 of Poundworld’s 355 supplies as part of a restructuring plan.

However, that process has been put on pull after receiving expressions of interest in the chain.

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