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Industry News

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

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Retail footfall hits five-year low

Retail footfall registered the fifteenth consecutive month of decline in February with shopper numbers down 2.0%, marking the weakest February in five years.

High street footfall recorded the seventh consecutive month of decline, falling 1.9% against a 1.2% drop in the same month last year.

Footfall in retail parks fell 0.8% overall, although the East Midlands and Wales experienced notable growth in these locations, up 3.0% and 1.4% respectively.

Shopping centres suffered the worst decline of all retail destinations, down 3.4% with no regions experiencing growth.

British Retail Consortium Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said the figures echo the month’s poor retail sales figures and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a “needs-not-wants” approach to shopping.

“Things could get a lot worse unless the Government is able to avoid a calamitous no-deal Brexit. Such a scenario would likely result in higher costs, higher prices and less choice for consumers – all of which would further harm struggling retailers.”

“The news that retail footfall in February has reached a five-year low is yet another blow for the high street in what has been a turbulent few months,” commented Naji El-Arifi, Head of Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

“The rise in eCommerce means that high street stores are progressively becoming more of a support for retailers’ offering, as shoppers now view online as the primary starting point to their shopping journey.

“To halt the decline in footfall, high street retailers need to shift their focus to a more experience-led model, where the priority is not necessarily sales but building a relationship with customers who can then purchase however they want, whether that’s in-store, online, or even via voice assistants.

“This is omnichannel at its best as retailers can connect with shoppers wherever they are and understand that customers make their purchasing decisions in different ways and buy in different ways. Just because they did not buy in-store doesn’t mean that the in-store experience didn’t impact their decision.”

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