February retail footfall hits five-year low

Jessica Clark
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Consumers In The Christmas Eve Retail Rush
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Retail footfall dropped by two per cent last month, making 2019 the weakest February for footfall in five years, according to research published this morning.

February saw the 15 consecutive month of footfall decline, and suffered a deeper plunge than the previous year when footfall was down 0.2 per cent, British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures showed.

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High street footfall declined by 1.9 per cent, marking the seventh consecutive month of falling numbers, and retail park footfall dropped by 0.8 per cent compared to February 2017 when it grew by 1.5 per cent.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson warned that Brexit uncertainty was driving the trend.

She said: “Consumers have been cautious in their spending, leading to the biggest drop in February footfall for five years. These figures echo the month’s poor retail sales figures, which saw weak growth, particularly in bricks-and-mortar stores.

“While real incomes have been rising over the last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a needs-not-wants approach to shopping.”

Shopping centre footfall did not grow in any UK regions last month, and the location suffered a 3.4 per cent decline overall.

Read more: High street suffers worst February in a decade

“Things could get a lot worse unless the government is able to avoid a calamitous no deal Brexit. Such a scenario would likely result in higher costs, higher prices and less choice for consumers – all of which would further harm struggling retailers,” Dickinson added.

“The government must act to protect both consumers and retailers by ensuring there is no chance of a no deal Brexit.”