Fewer shoppers visited the high street in October and flocked to retail parks instead, according to the latest industry figures.
High street footfall fell by one per cent year-on-year compared with a 0.6 per cent decline in September the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard revealed today. In contrast, footfall at retail parks increased 2.6 per cent in the year to October, from 0.6 per cent the previous month.
Meanwhile shopping centres recorded a slight improvement, with foot traffic down 1.3 per cent in October compared with September, when visitor numbers fell 2.6 per cent.
Overall footfall in October was 0.2 per cent lower than a year ago, which was unchanged from the decline in September, but above the three-month average decline of 0.6 per cent.
Despite the lacklustre footfall figures bringing little cheer to retailers, the average UK vacancy rate fell to its lowest level in October since July 2011 and now stands at 9.1 per cent, the BRC said.
Chief executive Helen Dickinson, urged for an “urgent reform” of business rates to help keep vacancy rates low and prevent more shops disappearing from the high street.
“If the burden of business rates continues to grow as it has in the past, today’s vacancy figure may become but a distant, happy memory. Action now will ensure our high streets remain vibrant and viable long into the future,” she said.