UK store footfall: The news gets worse

Empty shopping mallMore figures about the state of UK retailing in June.  More to get depressed about. Springboard has just released its June footfall figures and they show overall visitor traffic falling 2.8%.

In detail, that meant a 3.7% drop to high streets, a 1% fall to retail parks and a 2.3% drop at shopping centres.

It was the weakest monthly result for more than two years and a marked worsening of performance since May when footfall rose slightly by 0.3%.

Springboard said the results were shaped by one dominant theme and tell a story of two halves: pre- and post EU referendum, a political and economic storm against a backdrop of rain and generally rotten weather throughout the month.

The month started well but got worse. Footfall deteriorated from a 0.4% rise in the first week of June to a 4.6% drop during the week of the referendum and, importantly, an on-going 3.4% drop in the weeks following. That late drop showed that the June fall wasn’t just a  knee-jerk reaction to the shock the Brexit vote but consumer confidence really being hit, despite retailers discounting throughout the period in early season sales.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director, said: “In the last three weeks of the month the drop in footfall averaged 4.1% compared with just -0.9% in the same weeks last year. While cooler, more rainy weather than last year will explain some of this degradation in performance, it’s unlikely that it will have accounted for the entire drop in footfall across UK destinations in the seven days post-referendum.

“Most significant is the out-of-town footfall decline; the first drop since December 2013. It’s more likely that consumers’ attention was diverted in the immediate aftermath – the issue for retailers is how quickly shoppers will return to their usual patterns of behaviour.”

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