UK footfall takes a hit in August despite rebound in retail sales

Kasmira Jefford
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FEWER shoppers visited shopping centres and high streets in August, even as retail spending rebounded, new figures show.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard revealed this morning that footfall dropped by 1.1 per cent in August compared with the same time last year. This was greater than the 0.6 per cent fall in July and below the three-month average, down 0.8 per cent.

But data published by the BRC last week showed that retail spending in August was at its highest since January thanks to a surge in clothing sales, up 2.7 per cent.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said that while footfall was down, the amount spent by consumers on per shopping trip has steadily increased in recent months.

“It seems that customers are hitting the high streets with purpose – knowing what they want to buy ahead of time, supported by online research ­– and doing more shopping in a single trip,” she said.

Footfall dropped most steeply on high streets, down 2.8 per cent on the previous year, while at shopping centres it fell by 1.1 per cent.

Out-of-town retail parks fared the best with a 2.9 per cent jump in foot traffic in August. The south east was one of four regions to enjoy a rise in shopper numbers – up 1.2 per cent.

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