UK High Streets Experience Sharp Decline In Footfall

There has been a significant decline in footfall on the UK’s high streets, the latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed.

According to the organisation’s figures for May, footfall in high street stores declined by 4.8 per cent last month, compared to the same time last year when it climbed by 0.5 per cent.

What’s more, footfall decreased by 0.7 per cent on a three-month basis and is also lower by more than one per cent in both the six and 12-month averages calculated by the BRC.

Retail parks, however, fared a little better, with footfall here declining by just 0.8 per cent compared to last May. Shopping centres, on the other hand, saw the number of people browsing fall considerably, with a decline of 3.6 per cent recorded in these locations.

Overall, footfall at all retail locations was down by 3.5 per cent this May, compared to a 0.4 per cent decline a year ago.

Chief executive of the BRC Helen Dickinson OBE revealed that these are the worst figures in six years, with every region of the country experiencing a decline.

“The colder weather, as well as ongoing political and economic uncertainty, made many consumers think twice before heading out to the shops this May,” she said. 

This is on top of retailers having to contend with high business rates in many locations, which are charged regardless of whether they make any money. Ms Dickinson said that expenses like this are contributing to store closures around the UK.

Last month, the BRC reported that high street shop vacancy rates hit 10.2 per cent in April, their highest level in four years.

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