Footfall across UK high streets and shopping centres fell in September as the balmy weather put shoppers off stocking up on autumn/winter clothing, despite a pick-up in activity on the previous month.
Visitor numbers dropped by 0.9 per cent in the year to September but improved slightly on the 1.1 per cent decline reported in August, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard revealed today.
Shopping centres took the biggest hit, down 2.6 per cent on the previous year, while on the high street, footfall fell 0.6 per cent.
Out-of-town retail parks fared better, thanks to sales of big ticket items such as furniture, with foot traffic up 0.6 per cent.
“The main hit was shopping centres and that’s because they are dominated by fashion and less diverse than high street. There is less reason to go to a shopping centre if you are not buying fashion,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.
Temperatures reached as high at 20 degrees last month, prompting several retailers including Next and N Brown to warn on sales.
Wehrle said the weather made it more likely shops would be forced into discounting: “Retailers will need to move their stock so that they can replenish ahead of Christmas.”
Scotland enjoyed the biggest rise in footfall, up two per cent, while in the West Midlands it was down 5.6 per cent. In Greater London, traffic was down 1.1 per cent.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “With Christmas fast approaching footfall is only set to increase on the high street, out-of-town and in shopping centres.’’