Vacant shops limit shopper numbersTuesday, 23 August 2011
Overall footfall in the three month period was 1% lower than the same period a year earlier. Falling shopper numbers were driven by a 1.9% decline in people visiting out-of-town complexes. The BRC said that over the last 12 months high streets on average had seen the highest a drop in footfall of 2.6%.
The hardest hit locations were Wales (-9.2%), the West Midlands (-6.6%) and the East of England (-6.2%) which recorded the sharpest decreases in footfall. Greater London (1.6%), the South West (0.4%) and Scotland (0.2%) were the only locations that saw shopper numbers rise.
BRC said the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 11.2% in May 2011 (high streets and shopping centres). Northern Ireland (17.1%), Wales (13.4%) and the North and Yorkshire (13.1%) recorded the highest vacancy rates.
Stephen Robertson, BRC Director General, said: "In July, all types of shopping locations saw reduced footfall year-on-year and that was before the effect of this month's disturbances in England. Fewer people are shopping because households are facing high inflation, low wage growth and uncertainty about future job prospects. But that's slightly offset by hard-up customers spreading their spending over more but less costly shopping trips. For the quarter, the one per cent drop in shopper numbers compared with this time last year is not great but is actually an improvement on the 1.3% fall over the twelve months before that.
The BRC-ATCM-Springboard Retail Footfall Monitor was published by the BRC, the Association of Town Centre Management and Springboard for the first time today. The monitor measures visits per week at more than 500 shopping locations in 152 towns and cities across the UK.
Image: Shopping Arcade Bond Street