Faultering footfall hits watch outlets at retail parks

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  A man carries shopping bags on New Bond Street on December 14, 2009 in London, England. High street stores are expecting a bumper Christmas this years despite the economic dowturn, with shoppers spending around GBP £120 million in the past two days alone.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 14: A man carries shopping bags on New Bond Street on December 14, 2009 in London, England. High street stores are expecting a bumper Christmas this years despite the economic dowturn, with shoppers spending around GBP £120 million in the past two days alone. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Watch outlets at retail parks are experiencing an accelerating decline in footfall whilst the high-street sees marginal growth.

A new report has shown that footfall was down 1.6% in February compared to a 2.5% increase last year. Meanwhile, high-street footfall rose 0.1% last month compared to 2016’s 3% decline.

The report, from Springboard UK found that footfall in shopping centres fell 2.6% in February on the -0.6% equivalent rate in the same month of 2016.

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“Although, given the disappointing in-store sales so far in 2017, the decline in footfall last month is unsurprising,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief-executive of the British Retail Consortium.

“On closer inspection, there has been a steeper drop than normal in retail parks, with footfall to this shopping destination falling at the fastest rate since November 2013. In comparison, footfall on the high-street grew marginally, likely driven by its diverse offer.”

Dickinson continued: “The modest relief fund for business rates announced in the Budget will hopefully go some way to helping those shops hardest hit, albeit only temporarily. It won’t however ease the burden for the majority of retailers who will continue to pay nearly a half of rental values in property tax.

“A business tax system that continues to curtail investment in bricks and mortar is at odds with an industry that desperately needs to innovate in order to attract cautious shoppers into their stores.”

Springboard attributed the results to uncertainty arising from the imminent triggering of Article 50 and its impact on buying behaviour.

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