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Published on September 16th, 2013 | by The GC Team

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Retail footfall down 0.9% in August

Retail footfall in the UK declined by 0.9% during August, the lowest rate since March this year and down on the 0.8% rise recorded in July, despite the hot weather and signs of a tentative economic recovery.

The British Retail Consortium today reported that high street footfall fell 0.6% compared with a good performance last year, while footfall in out-of-town locations was flat in August after a relatively strong performance over the last four months. Footfall in shopping centre locations remained weak, down 2.2%, but a slight improvement on July’s 2.3% decline.

The North & Yorkshire was the only region to report positive growth, up 0.1%.

The BRC pointed out that comparisons were against last year’s summer of sport, which encouraged many Britons to stay at home instead of holidaying abroad and pushed up the average in a number of areas.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “All in all, these figures need to be taken in tandem with the recent rosier economic news, including a good run of sales growth and many of us starting to feel more positive about the economy.

“A small dip in one month shouldn’t take the shine off the tentative signs of improving consumer confidence hinted at in recent times, and retailers are working hard to read these conditions so that they can continue to deliver for their customers.”

Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, commented that footfall over the quarter has been stable compared with the previous quarter, in which it dropped by 1.9%, and 2.5% over the same quarter last year.

“Despite the challenges they face, high streets recorded an increase in footfall of 1.1% over the quarter whilst in shopping centres footfall fell by 2.5%,” she said.

“Given the increase in sales in August, the lack of uplift in footfall indicates that the number of customers visiting our retail locations is remaining steady in overall terms but they are spending more. The footfall performance of retail parks clearly reflects the fact that home products were the best performers in sales terms in August, which may well have deflected footfall away from high streets and shopping centres. In overall terms, however, the results for August indicate an increasing degree of stability in the performance of retail locations.”

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