New year, same story for retail footfall, says BRC

Footfall remained on a downward trajectory in January, albeit at a slower rate than in December.

According to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor for January 2024, Total UK footfall decreased by 2.8% in January (YoY), up from -5.0% in December.

High Street footfall decreased by 2.3% in January (YoY), up from -4.2% in December. Retail Parks footfall decreased by 1.8% in January (YoY), up from -4.8% in December. Shopping Centre footfall decreased by 5.0% in January (YoY), up from -7.4% in December.

All UK nations saw a fall in footfall year on year. England saw the smallest YoY drop in footfall at -2.6%. Scotland saw a YoY drop in footfall at -2.7%. This was followed by Wales at -4.5% and Northern Ireland at -6.8%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Many consumers appear particularly bargain-focused, with the first half of the month boosted by the January sales. However, the latter part of January saw fewer shoppers out as stormy weather led to a bigger footfall decline in Shopping Centres and High Streets.

“Retail plays a vital part in every community across the country – providing the goods that we need, as well as local jobs and investment. As we move towards a higher skilled, digitally transformed, net zero future, there is a need for more investment in every part of the UK. It is vital the next Government finds ways to unlock the full potential of the retail industry, increasing the investment needed to boost local and national economic growth.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “With disruption from two named storms in January dampening footfall on the High Street, retailers also faced tempestuous trading conditions caused by the ongoing cost-of-living spending squeeze and stubbornly sticky inflation. 

“Despite January’s shopper traffic levels remaining down, this was an improved year-on-year performance when compared to December, which – while marginal – may signal the beginning of a bounce back, giving retailers cause for cautious optimism for a recovery. Many will be hoping as inflation continues to slow, consumer confidence will start to rise enough to loosen the squeeze on incomes to the point that this begins to materially translate into both footfall and sales.”

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