Shopper numbers drop in February

Shoppers’ footfall fell last month as exceptionally wet weather impacted consumer spending, the latest figures reveal.

According to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Springboard Footfall Monitor February 2014, footfall was 2.9% lower than a year ago, down on the 1.6% rise seen in January.

It noted that footfall was also lower than the three month average of -1.1%.

High streets saw the largest decrease, down 5.3%, the biggest drop since March 2013.

Footfall in out-of-town locations experienced a rise of 2.3%, while shopping centres fell by 2.4%.

Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: “After the increase in UK shoppers we saw last month, we have seen a disappointing, but understandable, drop-back in February. This is in line with the low levels of growth we saw in our sales figures earlier this month.”

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, added that the exceptionally rainy weather last month impacted on retail destinations.

Wehrle said: “For high streets, the result is in sharp contrast to February 2013, when footfall increased by 2.7%, and it is also the worst result for high streets since the 7% drop recorded in March 2013.

“Despite this, however, gains early on over the last year meant high streets were on par with shopping centres over the last 12 months, with a drop of 1.9% each. The star undoubtedly is out-of-town, where footfall rose over the 12 months to the end of March by 0.1%.”

All seven regions in England reported a decline in footfall, with Greater London down 2%. Across the UK, Wales experienced the sharpest decrease of 8.8%, Scotland’s footfall fell 4.1%, and Northern Ireland’s footfall dropped 5.1%.

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