Storms dampen shopper footfall

Shopper numbers fell by -2% during February against last year, with all destinations suffering a decline.

According to the latest BRC-ShopperTrak figures, high street footfall fell -2.5%, as did retail parks, which were down by -1.5%.

Shopping centre footfall suffered the worst drop at -7%, with the BRC stating that the constant storms kept shoppers away.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “Multiple storms took their toll on footfall this February, particularly for shopping centres and high streets. The decline was less marked for retail parks, which provide easy parking and offered some salvation from the rain. There was a slight boost in footfall in the final week, where concerns around coronavirus may have contributed to an increase in store visits.

“With the right investment in our communities, local retail will thrive. All eyes will be on the upcoming business rates review, promised in the Budget, and how effectively it can relieve the business rates burden. This would allow more money to be invested back into people, property and technology.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant, ShopperTrak, added: “While January saw shopper levels on the High Street boosted by the ‘Boris Bounce’, February was a different story.  Named the wettest February on record, we also had three named storms, which all arrived over weekend trading, and certainly dampened shopper traffic levels. Total footfall for the month was down 2% year-on-year nationally, and some communities in the areas particularly affected by storm flooding saw a greater year on year decline still; in Wales, for instance, footfall in Cardiff fell 6.4% year-on-year.”