Time to celebrate? UK footfall up in August – but only just

Fireworks_CelebrationIt’s been a roller coaster ride for UK high streets and malls in recent months what with weather woes, Brexit blues or boom, online chipping away at physical stores and lifestyle changes meaning many of us shop differently than we used to.

So what did August bring? Footfall rose 0.1% year-on-year. High street footfall rose 1.1%, retail parks edged up 0.4% and shopping centres fell 1.9%, according to footfall tracker Springboard.

Let’s dig a little deeper and see what that actually means in practice. For a start, while 0.1% isn’t exactly cause to break out the party poppers, after a fall of 1.6% in August 2015, it’s pretty good news.

Springboard said August saw an influx of tourists and a return of the ‘staycation’ as 5.1 m Brits decided to holiday at home over the bank holiday weekend (helped by that rare event – a sunny bank holiday).

While increased footfall didn’t necessarily translate into sales for many, coastal towns saw an improvement after falls a year ago. 

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s marketing and insights director said of it all: “Driving the overall rise on the high street is an increase in footfall post 5pm, which highlights the growing evening economy based on leisure activities – hospitality, food and beverage trips – and is a result of a markedly improved and expanded offering by shopping destinations. Only in retail parks did footfall during daytime trading hours improve.”

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