Footfall in January was 1.6% higher than a year ago, up on the 2.4% fall in December, according to statistics announced by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This is the best footfall performance since December 2011. High streets reported the only fall, down 0.6%, substantially up from their 3.7% fall in December. Footfall in out-of-town locations improved substantially to a 5.7% increase and shopping centres reported an increase of 2.4%.
Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General, said: “More shoppers were out and about in January, with a solid 1.6 per cent in overall footfall across the country. It’s good news for retailers and it helps to explain the rise in sales we reported earlier in the month, demonstrating that UK shoppers were enthusiastically checking out the promotions available during the sales season.
“Out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres did particularly well this month, up 5.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. The High Street performed a little worse, with numbers of shoppers dropping slightly, by 0.6 per cent.”
Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, said: “After such a challenging Christmas trading period, it is encouraging to see that footfall in our retail destinations increased annually in January by 1.6 per cent. Not only is this the largest increase since December 2011 (which was in part a function of the dreadful weather in December 2010) but the first annual rise in footfall since July 2013.
“This result demonstrates that whilst the growth of online retailing continues apace, retail destinations remain attractive to shoppers and that retailers’ approach in delivering a multichannel offer is the right one. At the same time, however, all of the annual increase in footfall was driven by visits to shopping centres and particularly to retail parks, rather than to high streets, although this is likely to be a combination of the adverse impact of the ongoing rain on visits to external environments and the demand for furniture which drives visits to retail parks and supported January’s strong sales results.”