High street customer numbers continue to fade

Helen Cahill
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Summer Sale in London
Spending has been squeezed by rising inflation (Source: Getty)

High streets continued to suffer from dropping customer numbers last month, as experts warned that consumer spending is heading for its worst year since 2013.

Footfall fell 1.2 per cent year-on-year in August, according to figures from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Across high streets and shopping centres, footfall declined by 2.6 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively. Retail parks bucked the overall trend however, with footfall rising by 1.6 per cent in these locations.

Read more: London shoppers rein in spending as footfall lags national average

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: "The story for the UK shopper footfall unfortunately remains much the same as before, with most shopping locations seeing year-on-year decline. Indeed footfall sagged last month at a more pronounced rate than that witnessed over the past quarter as a whole."

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said that at least some of the drop was due to a rise in online activity. Online sales were up by 11 per cent, the greatest rise of the year so far.

The data comes as Visa released a report saying UK consumer spending was on course for its worst year since 2013.

Visa found consumer spending edged up 0.3 per cent year-on-year in August. However, Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa, said he was "wary" about taking it as a sign of a significant turnaround. In July, Visa's index fell 0.8 per cent.

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