Modest growth in footfall in July

July saw modest growth in footfall numbers in all locations across most major cities in the UK, with Scotland and the Northeast leading the way.

According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor for July 2023, total UK footfall increased by 1.8% in July (YoY), up from -1.9% in June.

High Street footfall increased by 1.6% in July (YoY), up from 0.6% in June. Retail Parks saw footfall increase by +1.4% in July (YoY), up from -2.6% in June. Shopping Centre footfall increased by 0.2% in July (YoY), up from -4.2% in June. Footfall at other retail locations increased by 8.6%. This was driven by increases in outlet sites.

Of the UK nations, Scotland saw the highest YoY increase in footfall with an improvement of +5.9%, followed by England with +1.8% and Northern Ireland with +1.4%. Wales saw a YoY decrease of -0.1%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The rainy start to the summer holidays drove many people off the streets and into the shops, in contrast to last year’s heatwave, which kept people outside in the sun. The recovery in international tourism continues to drive shopper numbers up in major cities.

“The Government should capitalise on this by reintroducing a tax-free shopping scheme, as exists in all other European Union countries. This would encourage more visitors and stimulate more spending, boosting economic growth and employment.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “Footfall saw a bounce back into positive figures in July, reversing the slowdown experienced in May and June. While retailers will welcome the uptick in shopper traffic, it will be with a sense of practical positivity. Many will be mindful they continue to serve a cost-of-living consumer, who remains cautious – and may well become more so with the prospect of further interest rates threatening spending power in the mid- to long-term. 

“Indeed, our data shows that much of the footfall recovery in July was shored up by strong performance in outlet retail, as shoppers turn to discount formats to make spend go further. And this is putting further pressure on retailers, already shouldering the burden of growing price sensitivity, to turn to discounting to drive demand. Even in the context of rising price sensitivity, discounting remains just one of many levers retailers can pull. By doubling down on value-driven but experience-led propositions, retailers can build on the store’s revival as the shopping channel of choice.”

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