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Retail parks save August footfall

But High Streets and shopping centres see decline as ‘more spending shifts online’


FOOTFALL dropped by 1.6 per cent in August across the nation’s High Streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

The British Retail Consortium and Springboard’s footfall and vacancies monitor showed shoppers were cutting back on non-essential purchases due to food inflation, resulting in a reduction in the number of shopping trips.
The results, which covered July 29 to August 25, also reflected what BRC and retail intelligence firm Springboard said is a “long-term downward trend of fewer trips to physical shopping locations, as more of our spending shifts online”.
Retail parks were one of the only positive finds for the report, which found the east and south west reporting 5.1 per cent and four per cent growth respectively.
Three months of High Street footfall growth came to an end in August with a decline of two per cent, with Northern Ireland the only region to report an increase, up 1.4 per cent, while shopping centre footfall continued to drop, but at a slower rate, down 2.4 per cent for August against 3.4 per cent in July.
“British High Streets experienced a quiet August this year as the continued squeeze on wages kept consumers away from the shops,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“With fewer shoppers visiting the High Street and a difficult overall trading environment the pressure is increasing on retailers as rising public policy costs continue to bite.
“The Government must take action now and commit to a two-year freeze on business rates to help reduce the pressure of this disproportionate tax on retailers and allow for a fundamental reform of the business taxation system.”
The news comes as accountancy firm BDO’s monthly High Street sales tracker indicated that UK sales fell by 2.7 per cent year-on-year – the worst August decline for three years and one of the worst Augusts since records began in 2006.

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