Despite a large spike in footfall against the previous week particularly in shopping centres, the school half term failed to deliver a boost in visitor numbers last week with a comprehensive annual decline in visitor numbers to all location types. The result was a drop of -2.5 per cent in the Springboard Index (a weighted average of high street, shopping centre and retail park volumes). This could also be symptomatic of the slight shift in dates of the week, which were crucial enough to move Halloween and the last day of the month (and therefore the penultimate payday before Christmas) into the next reporting week.
Shopping centres, which have increasingly relied upon school holidays and key public holidays to boost visitor numbers saw a weekly increase of +9.0 per cent, which is the largest swing of the year so far. Unfortunately, this did not translate into a year on year increase with in any region of the UK resulting in a countrywide result of -4.4 per cent, which given that 6 of the 9 regions dropped below -5.0 per cent is testament to the volume of visitors in the South East, Scotland and North and Yorkshire.
Both retail parks and high streets saw similar results with weekly increases of +2.7 per cent and +6.6 per cent respectively and falls of -1.2 per cent and -2.1 per cent against the same week last year despite the increased popularity in weekend Halloween celebrations. In fact, only Northern Ireland with the strength of the high street offer recorded an overall uplift of +1.8 per cent.
It will be interesting to note if the slight shift in the pay weekend will return a positive impact on this current week’s results as we look towards Christmas.