Footfall slips back in September

During the warmer-than-expected weather, footfall slowed in September, with fewer shoppers across all shopping locations.

According to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor, total UK footfall decreased by 2.9% in September (YoY), down from -1.6% in August.

High Street footfall decreased by 1.7% in September, down from -0.9% in August. Retail Parks footfall decreased by 2.4%), down from 0.0% in August, while Shopping Centre footfall decreased by 4%, down from -3.8% in July.

Of the UK nations, Scotland saw a YoY rise in footfall, showing an increase of +1.0%. Conversely, Wales saw a YoY drop in footfall, a decrease of 1.4%. This was followed by England at -2.9% and Northern Ireland at -3.6%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “High streets and retail parks held up slightly better as the return to school helped increase the number of shopping visits at the start of the month. Retailers will want to invest in their properties in the run up to Christmas, but the prospect of a £400m increase to business rates next year will limit their capacity for improvements. The Chancellor should announce a freeze to rates at the Autumn Budget in November.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “Rather than the traditional ‘Back To School’ boost to shopper traffic we would normally expect to see in September, footfall remained subdued as consumer caution on discretionary spending stayed high, perhaps prompted by shoppers withholding spend to save ahead of the Golden Quarter and Christmas. 

“While retailers will be hoping this month’s first fall in food prices in two years will mark the beginning of the end of inflationary-driven pressure on household budgets, many will recognise that the reality of inflationary-driven interest rates – and consequently higher mortgages and rent payments – will be with us ‘higher and for longer’, meaning once again retailers will be required to run faster just to stand still.”

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