UK retail footfall in June was 2.8% down on a year ago – worse than the 0.3% rise in May and the sharpest decline since February 2014.
That’s the finding of the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Springboard footfall and vacancies monitor, covering the five weeks from May 29 to July 2.
All three locations covered by the monitor – high streets, shopping centres and retail parks – reported a decline in footfall for the first time since December 2013.
High streets posted a 3.7% fall, followed by shopping centres, which recorded a 2.3% drop. Footfall in retail parks slipped 1% after rising 1% in May: their worst performance since November 2013.
The best performing region was Wales with a 0.9% rise in footfall, improving on its 0.8% increase in May. All other countries and regions reported a decline, with the West Midlands, Greater London and Scotland suffering the sharpest slides.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Despite the figures showing the deepest decline in footfall since February 2014, the same period saw UK retail sales rise. June had many distractions, from Euro 2016 to Wimbledon, so heading out to the shops seemed to slip down the priority list for many.
“In the coming months, we must redouble our efforts to remind customers that now is a great time to get out into their local communities. Retailers continue to focus relentlessly on delivering for shoppers day in, day out, and they know that providing a great in-store experience is key to driving up footfall. Although there is a level of uncertainty, it’s important that this doesn’t deter us from the shopping and leisure activities we all enjoy.
“The EU referendum will not have changed the in-store experience for customers and, crucially, the price of goods on the shelves.” She said now is “a great time for shoppers” with the summer sales well under way, following a record 38 months of falling shop prices.”
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director of Springboard, added: “With such major political and economic news in June, it’s unsurprising that there was drop in footfall of 2.8% across the UK. June was the poorest monthly result for more than two years – and a marked worsening of performance since May, when footfall rose slightly by 0.3%.The results are shaped by a political and economic storm, against a backdrop of downpours and generally inclement weather throughout the whole month.
“Footfall deteriorated from 0.4% in the first week of June to a 4.6% drop during the week of the referendum and a 3.4% drop in the weeks following, as consumer confidence was hit – despite retailers discounting throughout the period in early season sales.”
Diane noted that in the last three weeks of June, the drop in footfall averaged 4.1% compared with just -0.9% in the same weeks last year. She said: “While the cooler and rainy weather will explain some of this degradation in performance, it’s unlikely that it accounted for the entire 5% drop in footfall across UK destinations in the seven days post-referendum.
“Most significant is the out-of-town footfall decline. It’s more likely that consumers’ attention was diverted in the immediate aftermath. The issue for retailers is how quickly shoppers will return to their usual patterns of behaviour.”