London shoppers rein in spending as footfall lags national average

 
Helen Cahill
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The figures suggest consumers were spending less in the evening (Source: Getty)

London recorded the sharpest drop in footfall of anywhere in the UK last month, as shoppers turned away from the high street in sale season.

Footfall in the capital fell by 2.1 per cent year-on-year in July, according to figures from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This compared to a national drop of 1.1 per cent.

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UK high streets were the hardest hit of the retail destinations analysed by Springboard, with footfall down by 2.1 per cent. In shopping centres, footfall dropped by 1.3 per cent.

However, shoppers were still keen to head to retail parks up and down the country. Parks with large, out-of-town stores, benefited from a 1.7 per cent rise in footfall.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said the footfall figures for July might represent a "sea change" in consumers' spending appetite, because it was the first time since the start of the year that footfall fell both during traditional shopping hours and in the evening.

In previous months, footfall in the evenings had propped up the overall figures. But footfall fell 0.5 per cent after 5pm in July, which Wehrle said could be attributable to consumers reining in their spending on leisure activities.

"The overall decline in footfall translated into weak sales performance for stores in non-food particularly, which fell further into negative territory as consumers rein back spending on non-essential items," said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.

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