British Retail Consortium warns we are entering a “season of discounts” as footfall continues to drop

Springboard – By Location Type – October 2018

The British Retail Consortium is warning that the vital pre-Christmas period could be a “season of discounts” as it releases its October data that shows retail footfall down by 2% compared to the same month in 2017.

The number of vacant town centre shops also increased by 9.3%. Almost one in ten shops are now empty, according to the research conducted in conjunction with Springboard.

October is the eleventh month of consecutive annual footfall declines.

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“October showed another month reflecting the continued long-term decline in footfall. This trend is primarily driven by a move from in-store to online purchases. With retail becoming more digital, physical shopping locations are working to reinvent themselves as places people go for days-out rather than just for day to day purchases,” says Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of RBC.

High Street footfall fell by 2.3%, now three months of consecutive weakening for this shopping location. Northern Ireland and Greater London were the only two regions to see growth of 4.0% and 0.2%, respectively. The decline in the South East saw a significant acceleration from 0.6% to 5.0% in this location, the deepest fall since April 2018 when it declined by 6.2%.

At -0.2% in October, Retail Parks footfall slipped back after two months of positive growth.

The Shopping Centre footfall decline deepened to 3.3% from 2.5% in September (now 19 months of consecutive decline), a similar rate seen in October 2017, when it fell by 3.0%. No region experienced growth in this location.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder