There was drop in retail footfall of 2.8% across the UK in June, according to the latest statistics from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.
The decline represents 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 fall was spread across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, with all three reporting a slip in footfall for the first time since December 2013. High streets reported the largest fall, of 3.7%.
Springboard marketing & insights director Diane Wehrle said that with such major political and economic developments in June, the news is not surprising. “The results are shaped by a political and economic storm, against a backdrop of rain downpours and generally inclement weather throughout the whole month,” she said.
Footfall deteriorated from a 0.4% rise 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.
“In the last three weeks of the month the drop in footfall averaged 4.1% compared with just -0.9% in the same weeks last year.
“While the cooler and rainier weather compared with last year will explain some of this degradation in performance, it’s unlikely that it will have accounted for the entire 5% drop in footfall across UK destinations in the seven days post-EU referendum.
“Most significant is the out-of-town footfall decline; the first drop since December 2013. It is 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.”
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “Despite the figures showing the deepest decline in footfall since February 2014, the same period has seen UK retail sales rise.
“June has seen many distractions, from Euro 2016 to Wimbledon, so heading out to the shops seems to have slipped down the priority list for many.
“In the coming months we all 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. Now is a great time for shoppers as the summer sales begin in earnest following on from a record 38 months of falling shop prices.”