High Street footfall maintained its consistent growth in August with Retail Parks returning to positive figures, although Shopping Centres suffered a seventh consecutive month of falling footfall.
According to the latest retail footfall figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) covering the four weeks from 31 July to 27 August, the number of people on the High Street rose by 1.1%, growing from its 0.3% increase in July.
Retail Parks returned to growth with an increase of 0.4% compared to its 0.3% fall last month, whilst Shopping continued to display negative figures, down by 1.9% - on par with is fall of 2% in July.
Overall, footfall in August was 0.1% up on a year ago, an improvement on the 0.4% fall in July. This is the second time in four months’ footfall has risen.
Analysing geographical footfall across the UK, six of the 10 Nation/Region’s saw a rise in August, with Northern Ireland and Wales demonstrating the strongest growth at 2.5% and 1.8% respectively. Within England, only London, the East and the South West registered an uptick in footfall at 1%, 0.9% and 0.5% respectively.
The most hit area within the UK was the West Midland, which experienced a sharp decline of 4.7%, with the East Midlands (down by 1.8%), the North & Yorkshire (down by 1.7%) and the South East (at -0.2%) all reporting a drop in shopper numbers.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “Although this month’s increase in footfall is only marginal, it is an improvement on last month’s 0.4% decline. It’s also only the third time this year that overall footfall has increased. So, while these figures will give retailers some cheer, they’ll only be cautiously optimistic for the months ahead.
“High Streets were the real winner in terms of the destinations we were favouring this month. This compares with a fall in retail sales for the same period. This suggests that people are being drawn to the High Streets for reasons other than to shop - perhaps because many are now doing a better job of providing a mixed offer and are no longer solely retail destinations. Improving this model should bode well for the longer term survival of the British High Street.”