Sun draws shoppers to the high street

Published:  20 September, 2016

Shopping centres fail to capitalise on national increase in footfall

According to Springboard’s weekly index, despite intermittent regional flash flooding, the high temperatures which dominated most of the country last week are likely to have contributed to an overall increase in footfall for the week to retail destinations by +1.0% in the Springboard Index. This weighted average of retail parks, shopping centre and high street footfall however disguises the polarisation of numbers across sectors and regions with regional performance diversifying between –4.9% in West Midlands and +7.0% in Wales.

High Streets benefited from the late summer weather with an increase of +3.1% against the same week last year. With the exceptions of West Midlands and Ireland, this increase was across the country with a high of +13.9% in Wales. This is the 8th of a 9 week run in which high streets have experienced an uplift against 2015, which has resulted in a slow but steady improvement against the same point last year with a current year to date performance of –1.42% versus –1.71% in 2015.

This increase in footfall to high streets is no doubt a consequence of the slowing down in visitor numbers visiting retail parks in comparison to 2015. Retail park performance dropped last week by just –0.1%, with 3 of 9 regions pulling the performance below that of last year but a correlation of change ranging between –3.0% in the East to +4.6% in the South West. Shopping centre footfall also diverted to high streets last week, a usual consequence of sunnier weather encouraging shoppers to outdoor rather than indoor, resulting in an annual decline of –2.1% across the UK. This drop in performance was visible in every region with a low of –8.6% in the East.

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