Hopes raised in retail sector as shoppers return to high street

 
Ben Southwood
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AFTER YEARS of decline, footfall on high streets was basically flat in September, data from Springboard showed today.

Footfall fell 0.4 per cent in the year to last month, Springboard said, a improvement on last year’s 1.2 per cent fall, and the collapses of 5.3 per cent in 2009 and 10.6 per cent during the recession.

And defying the flat countrywide picture, major cities managed to increase footfall 2.2 per cent, after four years of sharp declines – driven up by a 18.6 per cent boost in Birmingham.

Springboard analyst Diane Wehrle put the improvement down to the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, saying they, “had a very positive effect on this year’s September footfall results as the national good feeling boosted consumer confidence”.

Reinforcing this picture was data from accountancy firm BDO, which said like-for-like sales were up 3.5 per cent on the year in September, driven by leisure, beauty and luxury sales.

Don Williams, head of retail at BDO, agreed that shops were enjoying a rebound following the Olympics.

“The predicted Olympic afterglow seems to have helped boost sales everywhere apart from homewares,” Williams claimed.