Footfall in the UK's retail destinations declined by -2.7 per cent last week, a noticeable worsening of performance from both the same week last year when the drop was -1.9 per cent and in the previous week when footfall fell by just -1.0 per cent. The fact that by last week the half term break had ended for all schools across the UK undoubtedly impacted on customer activity, with all destination types suffering an exacerbating decline.
Despite this, the results continue to reinforce prevailing underlying trends in footfall; namely a flattening of retail park performance - indeed the shift over the year for this week was significant, moving from +4.1 per cent in 2016 to -2.3 per cent this year - and a long term drop in the volume of customer activity in shopping centres (-4.5 per cent compared with +0.4 per cent in the same week last year).
Geographically, the decline in footfall was virtually universal for all three destination types, with drops in all but one area in both high streets and shopping centres, and just three areas seeing uplifts in retail park activity. For high streets, the areas that struggled most to attract customers were Northern Ireland, the West Midlands and the South West which all recorded drops greater than -7.0 per cent. In shopping centres, no single area recorded as great a drop as this, however, the drop was in excess of -5.0 per cent in five areas. In retail parks, the decline in any one single area was more modest, with only one area recording a drop of more than -3.0 per cent (-3.4 per cent in North & Yorkshire).”