Shopper footfall fell by 6 per cent in March, the steepest year-on-year drop since the end of 2010…with the prolonged spell of miserable weather to blame
Shoppers must have had better things to do in March.
The number of visiting retailers that month fell by 6 per cent – the steepest year-on-year fall since the end of 2010, figures show.
The decline – compared with an average 1.4 per cent drop over the last year – was seen mostly in Greater London, down 7.5 per cent, the South East (6.5 per cent) and the East Midlands (5.6 per cent) the British Retail Consortium said.
Chief executive Helen Dickinson said that while the bad weather was partly to blame, shopping habits were changing.
The decline was seen mostly in Greater London, down 7.5 per cent, the South East (6.5 per cent) (stock image)
‘Whilst the prolonged period of bad weather has had an impact on shoppers visiting the high street, we are seeing a longer term trend of reduced footfall which highlights that shoppers face more choice in terms of how, where and when they shop.
‘The retail environment is changing and retailers are investing in innovation and technology adaptations in response to this.
‘Policy-makers must also play their part with a vision for a modern business taxation system which reflects this new environment.’
While the bad weather was partly to blame, shopping habits were changing (stock image)
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: ‘The severe weather put paid to any glimmer of hope for an uplift in shopper activity in March.
Hitting the week following the pay day weekend was the worst timing possible as it meant that shoppers who had available budget deferred trips.’
‘Indeed, throughout the month we were able to track the impact on footfall each day as adverse weather moved across the UK.’
Ms Wehrle said the annual decline was ‘undoubtedly a function of low consumer confidence arising from ongoing economic constraints attached to current price inflation and concern for the future’.