UK footfall was down during May but did make another small step of improvement for the third consecutive month.
According to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor for May 2022, total UK footfall decreased by 12.5% in May (Yo3Y), a 0.6 percentage point improvement from April. This is better than the 3-month average decline of 13.7%.
Since the pandemic started, much of retail has bounced between being open and closed, impacting footfall significantly. To make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all figures are compared to their pre-pandemic (2019) levels.
Footfall on High Streets declined by 13.6% in May (Yo3Y), 3.6 percentage points better than last month’s rate and an improvement on the 3-month average decline of 16.2%.
Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 6.3% (Yo3Y), 2.3 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and worse than the 3-month average decline of 5.4%.
Shopping Centre footfall declined by 26.7% (Yo3Y), 0.9 percentage points better than last month’s rate and above the 3-month average decline of 30.5%.
England saw the shallowest footfall decline of all nations at -11.9%, followed by Northern Ireland at -12.9% and Wales at -16.0%. Scotland again saw the steepest decline at -16.4%.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “UK footfall made small advances for a third month in a row, as the particularly warm May weather saw more people shop in person. The anticipation for the Jubilee celebrations offered an added boost to footfall, with the public hitting the shops to find the best decorations and festive food and drink for the long weekend. London enjoyed the biggest improvement out of all the major UK cities, seeing an increase in tourism as international covid restrictions are rolled back and we enter the summer season.
“Improvement to footfall remains fragile as the cost-of-living bites. With UK discretionary incomes falling, government’s financial support to tackle surging energy costs may only provide temporary respite for households. As inflation continues to climb and consumer confidence falls, it is by no means certain footfall will continue to improve in the months to come.”
Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “Total retail footfall across the UK continued a slow but steady recovery against pre-pandemic levels, edging up to its strongest point since the start of the year when compared to 2019 in May, with the UK continuing to lead the way in the High Street recovery compared to its G7 country counterparts. However, with households already starting to feel the pinch of the rising cost-of-living and growing inflationary pressures, retailers will be hoping that cracks don’t start to appear in the footfall recovery. As they look ahead to June, retailers will be hoping that High Streets will be rallied by the Jubilee weekend celebrations and that the event will prompt ambient shopper traffic and retail spend.”