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High street footfall sees drop

High street footfall fell for the third consecutive month, according to the British Retail Consortium.

There was a 0.7 percent fall which is a further drop on the 0.4 percent fall in October.

Footfall in November was one percent down on a year ago and footfall in retail park locations fell 0.1 percent after a growth in November of 1.1 percent.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “The drop in footfall we saw across the UK in October deepened in November, with shopper numbers falling one percent over the previous year compared to October’s fall of 0.4 percent.

“As we saw in the sales data, Black Friday did little to impact the overall monthly trend in footfall. Whilst the event clearly attracted shoppers to stores, it was retailers’ online offerings who were the real winner, with shoppers for non-food items spending more than one in four pounds online, setting a new record for online share.

“It’s clear that the browser is rapidly replacing the high street as the venue of choice to hunt down a bargain. With that trend set to continue, the role of physical stores – still an enormously important part of retail – is shifting and retailers are having to re-engineer and reinvent their real estate to work seamlessly with their digital presence.”

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director for Springboard said: “November footfall revealed four distinct trends: a continued bounce back of the High Street from last year with footfall moving to -0.7 percent from -3.4 percent in November 2015; the ongoing significance of Black Friday for the high street as well as online; a slowdown in the growth of footfall to out of town destinations; and of most concern, a further decline in footfall to shopping centres.

“November was the seventh month with an improvement in high street footfall, but Black Friday is the key trading feature of November; not only was it the busiest trading day of the month but footfall rose by 2 percent from Black Friday last year.

“Online purchases rose by 6.7 percent versus a forecast increase of 25 percent, demonstrating that whilst consumers shopped and researched discounts online, they also visited bricks and mortar stores.

“However, the concerning ongoing trend is a further decline of -2.3 percent in footfall to shopping centres.

“Some of this reduction is inevitable, as malls are dominated by retailers that trade equally effectively online, leading to a shift away from the need for frequent functional trips to longer, leisure driven trips that are undertaken less often.

“The challenge for malls is future proofing their success by delivering an integrated retail experience that satisfies consumers appetites, suggesting that if investors don’t regain confidence to invest in upgrading their shopping centres, the decline could continue throughout 2017.”

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