Retail footfall slumped across UK at end of 2017, new data reveals

December’s decline was the biggest since March 2013

Josie Cox
Business Editor
Sunday 14 January 2018 20:06
Comments
All regions across the UK experienced a slump in footfall, with shopping centres and high streets suffering more than retail parks
All regions across the UK experienced a slump in footfall, with shopping centres and high streets suffering more than retail parks

Footfall across UK shops decreased by 3.5 per cent year-on-year last month – the steepest decline in almost five years – as consumers battled a jump in inflation and stagnant wages, new figures have revealed.

Data compiled by analytics firm Springboard and published today showed that December’s fall was the largest since March 2013, when footfall declined by 5.2 per cent.

Springboard said that December’s year-on-year figure was also below the three-month rolling average of a 1.9 per cent decline, and significantly below the 12-month rolling average of a 0.7 per cent drop.

“This is a significant weakening in performance from December 2016 when footfall in retail destinations dropped by just 0.2 per cent,” said Diane Wehrle, director of marketing and insights at Springboard. She added that high streets and shopping centres suffered a particularly sharp decline in footfall during the month, compared to retail parks.

The resilience of retail parks, she explained, reflects the rise in online activity in December, which drove click-and-collect trips, as well as the better trading performance of food stores compared to non-food retailers.

All regions across the UK witnessed a slump in footfall in December, but the sharpest reductions occurred in Scotland, the South West and London, where footfall slipped by 4.7 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.

The Springboard data chimes with several other sets of figures, showing that consumers were particularly cautious when it came to spending in the lead up to Christmas.

Inflation surpassed 3 per cent at the end of last year and wages have failed to keep up.

Many major stores have been forced to resort to heavy discounting to encourage spending, particularly on non-food items which are not considered essential. Frequently, however, this has eaten into margins.

Looking to the coming months, Ms Wehrle said it was essential that retailers focus on providing the best possible in-store experience “whilst holding their nerve and resisting discounting too early and so protecting margins”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in