Dec 12, 2016
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Footfall falls again in November despite Black Friday sales

Dec 12, 2016

The UK retail sector saw its footfall decline deepening in November despite Black Friday sales, according to the BRC and Springboard’s latest figures.


In the four weeks to 26 November, footfall fell 1% on last year, taking it below the three-month average rate of -0.8%.

But the picture varied across the different retail channels. UK high streets reported a 0.7% decline, bouncing back from a sluggish November 2015 when footfall was down 3.4%. However, last months’ high street footfall was a further drop on the 0.4% fall in October. This is just behind the three-month average of -0.5%.

Retail parks saw footfall falling just 0.1% but shopping centres delivered the gloomiest results with footfall down for the 10th consecutive month. The 2.3% drop in November dragged the three-month average to -2.2%.

“As we saw in the sales data, Black Friday did little to impact the overall monthly trend in footfall. While the event clearly attracted shoppers to stores, it was retailers’ online offerings [that] were the real winner, with shoppers for non-food items spending more than one in four pounds online, setting a new record for online share,” said Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium.

Despite this, the Footfall and Vacancies Monitor revealed that online purchases rose by only 6.7% versus a forecast increase of 25%, suggesting that brick-and-mortar stores continue to be relevant for shoppers.

“The concerning ongoing trend is a further decline of -2.3% in footfall to shopping centres,” said Diane Wehrle, Springboard Insights Director. “Some of this reduction is inevitable, as malls are dominated by retailers that trade equally effectively online, leading to a shift away from the need for frequent functional trips to longer, leisure driven trips that are undertaken less often. 

"The challenge for malls is future-proofing their success by delivering an integrated retail experience that satisfies consumers appetites, suggesting that if investors don't regain confidence to invest in upgrading their shopping centres, the decline could continue throughout 2017.”

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