Footfall across the UK was resilient last week with an overall increase of +0.4 per cent in the Springboard Index (a weighted average of the high street, shopping centres and retail parks). This is a positive sign as we enter the key retail trading period with the combination of the beginning of half term and the increased popularity of Halloween in the UK contributing towards driving traffic to retail destinations.
A slowing down of the decline in shopping centres and high streets as well as the slowing in the increase in retail park visitors have resulted in a reasonably static change in footfall overall. In fact high streets mirrored the overall result last week with an increase of +0.4 per cent with only Greater London, Ireland and the South East recording declines leaving the remainder of the country to increase by an average of +2.0 per cent. There is still a regional disparity between consumer choice of destination with footfall in the South East polarising towards landlord managed destinations and away from the high streets.
While retail parks are continuing to increase, the rise of +1.6 per cent is considerably lower than the +2.4 per cent of last year and reflected in the year to date result of +1.15 per cent for the destination type, just under half of the same point last year which had seen a ytd of +2.36 per cent. And despite an annual drop of –0.6 per cent for shopping centres last week this stemming of the decline in visitor numbers (from –1.5 per cent in 2015) is a positive sign entering the crucial half term and Christmas period.