Shopper footfall remains down on last year despite bank holidays and sun

Retail groups have urged political parties to produce plans for revitalising footfall across the UK.

Retailers hope that a warm summer coupled with the Euros and the Olympics will see an increase in figures
Retailers hope that a warm summer coupled with the Euros and the Olympics will see an increase in figures (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Retail footfall across the UK remains well down on last year as bank holidays and improving weather failed to lure customers away from online shopping, figures show.

Total footfall was down 3.6% on a year ago but an improvement on April’s 7.2% drop, according to BRC (British Retail Consortium)-Sensormatic IQ data.

High street footfall was down 2.7%, while shopping centre visits remained at a subdued 4.5% lower than last May.

All UK nations saw a year-on-year fall despite improving on April’s figures, topped by Scotland at 5.4% and suffered the least by Northern Ireland at 3%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.

“With an election only five weeks away, political parties have a role to play, too, by having policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations across the UK.

“A broken business rates system and outdated planning laws are holding back the industry – politicians of all stripes must address these issues.

“This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations.”

Andy Sumpter, from Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Retailers were dealt some good news in May, as footfall recovered against the month before.

“While no one’s denying this improvement is starting from a low base following a gloomy performance in April, many will be hoping that this represents a turning point.

“And, with inflationary pressures easing and household budgets starting to feel a little less squeezed, along with the optimism that may come with the general election in July, many may be hoping the mood music has shifted key into something more positive.”