Shopping centre footfall underperforms

Published:  06 February, 2017

Springboard Index resilient at end of January but malls leg behind

The last week of January is typically a testing time for retail as, while it benefits from consumers’ January salaries, much of this tends to be absorbed by bills from the Christmas period. However, that said, footfall across all UK retail destinations dropped only marginally, by -0.1 per cent from last year, which was an improvement on the drop of -1.4 per cent in the same week in 2016.

However, once again it was high streets that drove this better performance, with footfall moving by 3.6 per cent to an increase of +0.8 per cent compared with a drop of -2.8 per cent in 2016. In contrast footfall in retail parks dropped by 0.2 per cent - only a marginal decline but nonetheless a sharp contrast to the increase of +2.2 per cent last year. Shopping centres, as we have come to expect, continue to face challenges and footfall dropped by -2 per cent against -1.4 per cent last year.

The driver behind the improved performance is an uplift in performance in six of the ten areas of the UK – the East, East Midlands, North & Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and in all of these six areas the improvements were significant. Indeed, in three areas – the East, East Midlands and North & Yorkshire – the shift was sufficient to move footfall into positive territory. And even in areas where footfall still dropped, the decline was relatively modest compared with last year: just -0.1 per cent in Wales compared with -9.9 per cent in 2016, -0.8 per cent in Scotland compared with -4.9 per cent last year and -1.9 per cent in Northern Ireland which contrasts with a drop of -8.2 per cent in 2016.

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