Footfall falls back

Springboard records decline in pedestrian traffic

The much discussed pull back in consumer spending was brought into sharp focus by a decline in footfall across all UK retail destinations last week, of -1.5 per cent from the week before and a -1.4 per cent from the same week in 2017. Underlying this is a key shift of a decline in both shopping centres and retail parks. Footfall in shopping centres declined by more than -3 per cent, both annually and from the week before; with a similar drop in footfall in retail parks of -3.1 per cent from the week before and -2.6 per cent annually. In contrast, footfall in high streets remained level, with a rise of +0.2 per cent annually and from the week before.

Retail parks, with their attractive offering of accessibility, leisure/dining, free parking and ease of click and collect has meant they have been the most resilient of all three destination types, with declines in footfall occurring only in periods when footfall generally is most constrained. The fact that footfall declined in retail parks reflects the degree of caution of consumers towards spending. Whilst the annual result of -2.6 per cent in retail parks could be due to the rise of +4.5 per cent last year, the -3.1 per cent from the week before is significantly worse than the weekly shift of just -0.2 per cent in Week 25 2017. And the decline in retail park footfall is virtually universal, across almost every UK geography. The same is true for shopping centres, whilst high street footfall rose in five of the ten UK geographies, and by as much as +4.1 per cent in Northern Ireland and +3.3 per cent in Wales.

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