Fewer shoppers in stores raises alarm for Xmas

Kasmira Jefford
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High street shopper numbers have fallen over the past three months
HIGH street footfall fell by more than two per cent for the third month in a row in August, raising concerns for the UK retail sector ahead of the key Christmas period.

Total visitor numbers across UK high streets, retail parks and shopping centres fell by 1.6 per cent last month, according to figures released today by the British Retail Consortium and retail analysts Springboard.

The washout weather prompted more Britons to travel abroad and led to less spending on the high street, with footfall down 2.3 per cent.

Shopping centres also reported a decline, down 2.8 per cent, despite benefitting from a rise in shoppers fleeing for cover from the rain over the bank holiday weekend.

Retail parks fared better, with footfall rising by 1.7 per cent in August.

However this was the slowest increase since May and below the three-month average of 2.5 per cent.

BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, said: “The continued decline in footfall in shopping centres and on the high street is disappointing, but not surprising. The fact that the number of visitors to retail parks has dipped below the three month average is also a clear sign of a lacklustre August.

“However, it is worth noting that these figures do not take into account the last two days of August (the Sunday and Bank holiday Monday) which will, hopefully, add some cheer to the numbers in September.”

Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle added: “The probability is that in September UK footfall will bounce back from the 1.6 per cent fall recorded this August to at least equal the more modest 0.9 per cent drop recorded in September 2014.”