Retailers

March retail footfall sees steepest decline in eight years

The severe weather seen during the month is said to be one of the main reasons for the drop

Footfall in March decreased by 6%, compared with the positive rate of 1.3% seen in March 2017.

There was no growth in footfall for any UK regions, and the most notable declines (year-on-year) were seen in Greater London, -7.5%, the South East, -6.5%, and in the East Midlands, -5.6%.

Growth fell in all shopping destinations: High street store footfall declined by 8.6%, 1.8% for retail parks and 4.8% for shopping centres.

Helen Dickinson, CEO British Retail Consortium, said: “Whilst the prolonged period of bad weather has had an impact on shoppers visiting the high street, we are seeing a longer term trend of reduced footfall which highlights that shoppers face more choice in terms of how, where and when they shop.

“The retail environment is changing and retailers are investing in innovation and technology adaptations in response to this. Policymakers must also play their part with a vision for a modern business taxation system which reflects this new environment.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, added: “The severe weather put paid to any glimmer of hope for an uplift in shopper activity in March. Hitting the week following the pay day weekend was the worst timing possible as it meant that shoppers who had available budget deferred trips.

“A proportion of this was made up over Easter, with footfall in shopping centres and retail parks rising from last Easter but this was more than offset by the impact of the heavy rain on high streets. Indeed, throughout the month we were able to track the impact on footfall each day as adverse weather moved across the UK.”

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