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Industry News

Published on February 11th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Footfall falls as vacancy rate rises

Retail footfall continued to diminish in 2019 with January recording the 14th consecutive month of decline.

According to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, shopper numbers fell 0.7% during the month, which, on the face of it, was an improvement on the 1.6% drop recorded for January 2018.

But Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, cautioned against any thinking that the 2019 figure suggests trading conditions have stabilised, stating that “the clear fact is that all of this improvement emanates from the first week, when footfall rose by 2.6% whilst dropping by an average of 2.1% over the three subsequent weeks.”

Figures show a 0.7% fall in high street footfall, a 0.3% decline in retail parks and a 0.9% fall in shopping centres.

Wehrle added that a “slight glimmer of hope” for retailers is that daytime footfall – which accounts for around 70% of total footfall volume – rose by 0.6% in January.

January’s shop vacancy rate reflected the ongoing challenges faced by retailers, rising for the second consecutive quarter to 9.9% from 9.6% in October and 9.2% in July. Wehrle remarked that this is the highest the rate has been since July 2016 when it rose to 10.1% from 9.6% in the previous quarter.

Chief Executive of the BRC Helen Dickinson said the increase will be a cause for concern at many shopping destinations.

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