UK leads Europe for shopper footfall in October

October’s footfall figures bounced back after the September slowdown with help from half-term holidays and Halloween.

Total UK footfall was down by 13.7% in October compared with two years ago (PA)
Total UK footfall was down by 13.7% in October compared with two years ago (PA)

The UK led the way for shopper footfall among the major European economies in October in an encouraging sign for retailers ahead of Christmas, figures show.

Total UK footfall was down by 13.7% in October compared with two years ago – adjusted to avoid the impact of the pandemic – with a 3.2 percentage point improvement from September, according to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data.

The figure for the number of people entering a shop or shopping area is an improvement on the three-month average decline of 16% and ahead of Spain (-19.8%), Germany (-26.1%), Italy (-34.6%) and France (-34.9%).

Footfall on high streets declined by 18.3% on October 2019, 4.3 percentage points above last month’s rate and above the three-month average decline of 21.8%.

This gives more retailers a reason to be hopeful as we enter the crucial golden quarter, with many embracing both digital and physical connections with their customers

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium

Retail parks almost reached pre-pandemic footfall levels with a decrease on 2019 of just 0.4%, 1.2 percentage points above last month’s rate and above the three-month average decline of 1.4%, while shopping centre footfall declined by 33.6%, 2.6 percentage points up on last month.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It was great to see the UK leading the way for footfall in October among the major European economies.

“This gives more retailers a reason to be hopeful as we enter the crucial golden quarter, with many embracing both digital and physical connections with their customers, and indicates that retail is playing a key part in the economic recovery.”

Andy Sumpter, from Sensormatic Solutions, said: “October’s footfall bounced back after the September slowdown, as traffic was bolstered by half term and Halloween – now retail’s third-biggest trading event after Christmas and Easter.

“Halloween proved a welcomed excuse for seasonal socialising and helped consumer confidence around in-store shopping to remain un-spooked by the UK’s rising Covid-19 infection rates.

“Some of the lift in footfall performance, which saw retail parks in particular rise to their highest point of recovery since the start of the pandemic, may also be attributed to early Christmas spend, as retailers brought forward Christmas range launches to help smooth out supply chain bumps ahead of the peak trading period and consumers also indicated they would shop earlier for the festive season this year.”

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