The number of people visiting the high street dropped by its sharpest amount in over two years last month, as retailers said they faced a combination of bad weather and weak consumer confidence.
Footfall at high street stores dropped by 4.7 per cent in April compared to the year before, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)’s monthly monitor, released today. Across the entire retail sector, footfall fell 2.4 per cent, though this was slightly up from a 2.7 per cent decline in March.
The disappointing figures come just weeks after BHS and Austin Reed announced they were to file for administration within days of each other.
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The number of empty stores in town centres also rose in April, up to 9.6 per cent from 8.7 per cent at the start of the year.
“Ultimately, these are clear examples of the challenges that UK retailers face at the moment,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard added: “The rise in unemployment and economic uncertainty in this pre-EU referendum period has undoubtedly adversely impacted consumer activity. We know that cuts in retail spending are the first line of defence against threats to household budgets when consumer confidence is knocked.”