The UK’s recent return to footfall growth went into reverse last month as cautious shoppers stayed away from physical stores in greater numbers and fashion shops suffered the most. And hopes are low for June too after the shock general election result, despite this month getting a warmer weather boost.
Figures from specialist tracker Springboard and the BRC showed footfall in May fell 1% year-on-year, the first decline since February, with even the buoyant Greater London region seeing footfall dropping. High Street footfall, which had been a shining light in the UK retail sector, declined in May, with the fall of 2% its steepest decline since June last year.
There was good news for retail park destinations as they grew by 1.5%, perhaps on the back of a more interesting product mix away from the DIY stores that once dominated this category. But that was below the three-month average growth rate of 1.8 per cent.
But the worst news was that shopping centre footfall dropped by 1.3% in May, well below the three-month average of a 0.5% fall. Shopping centres contain the greatest concentration of fashion stores and have been battling the migration online for some time.
The drop in footfall was mirrored by a drop of 3.7% in UK sales as measured by Springboard’s sales index, which tracks turnover in bricks and mortar stores – with fashion spend in particular dipping in May, a clear signal that consumers have started to display greater spending restraint.
dditionally, British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson added that wet weather in May “kept people indoors and made it a poor month for footfall in general with fewer people out and about.”
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