The number of people heading to the high street has fallen again, new figures reveal, as one minister called for parking charges to be scrapped in an attempt to halt the decline of town centres around the country.
Footfall fell 2.8 per cent on the same month last year on the high street and 2.4 per cent at shopping centres, while a 2.8 per cent rise in visits to retail parks helped moderate declining shoppers overall to 1.5 per cent, the latest Brtish Retail Consortium (BRC) Springboard figures show.
“Retail Parks have seen another increase in shopper numbers this month – which is good news for the retailers operating in these areas," said BRC director general Helen Dickinson. "However, the fundamental shift in the way people are shopping seems to be driving the sustained reduction in shopper numbers to both high streets and shopping centres. This is a clear demonstration that the re-invention of the high street is far from complete."
Diane Wehrle director of markets and insight at retail analyst Springboard, said the decline was not "hugely detrimental, however, it belies the long-term decline in the attractiveness of urban retail destinations to shoppers", blaming the continued dwindling shopper numbers on the rise and rise of online trading."
Communities minister Marcus Jones last week called for councils to scrap parking fees as they act as a deterrent to shoppers. “Unfair parking fines push up the cost of living and undermine high streets. Instead, councils should be focusing their efforts on supporting our town centres and motorists, not by raising money through over-zealous parking enforcement,” he said.