Retail footfall falls 0.7 per cent

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that total footfall in May was down by 0.7 per cent compared like-for-like with May 2012.

Footfall at high streets and shopping centres was one per cent and 1.7 per cent lower, respectively, compared with the previous year. However, out-of-town retail locations saw an increase of 1.2 per cent, the strongest performance for that category since November last year.

There were regional variations across the UK, with Northern Ireland, the West Midlands and the East Midlands suffering the biggest drop-offs in footfall in May. In England, only Greater London and the East recorded positive footfall growth.

Sales values for May, however, were 1.8 per cent higher than the previous year. According to the BRC, the offer and uptake of promotional deals intended to shift slow-selling seasonal stock had a positive effect.

The BRC's director general, Helen Dickinson, said:

"While footfall saw a slight drop compared with May 2012, the month's respectable sales growth suggests that conversion rates were good: people made fewer trips but responded well to good deals, especially on value ranges and seasonal promotions. Where there was a little growth, retail parks led the way and this could explain why furniture - most commonly sited out of town - was the month's best performing category according to our Retail Sales Monitor."