Furniture boost for out of town shopping
The decline in shopper footfall dropped in September, as furniture sales boosted out of town shopping.
The number of visitors to out of town shopping destinations rose by 0.5% last month, according to the British Retail Consortium/Springboard Footfall Monitor, but fell by 0.6% on high streets and by 2.6% at shopping centres – the largest fall since October 2013 as consumers enjoyed the warm weather rather than shop for clothes.
Footfall in September was 0.9% down on a year ago, up on the 1.1% fall in August and in line with the three-month average of a 0.9% decline.
'Out-of-town footfall continues to grow compared to last year which shows that consumers are increasingly confident. Demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong with furniture outperforming all other categories. The South East also fared well showing growth in footfall for September of 1.4%, which is in contrast to the slight decreases in footfall across the other English regions overall. Despite a dip for the month of 0.9%, largely due to less visits to indoor shopping centres, footfall was up on the 1.1% fall for August which shows that it is going in the right direction,' says Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general.
'The UK result for September belies the impact on footfall of the unusually warm weather. The drop in footfall of 0.9% is modest and better than the drop of 1.1% recorded in August, however, if the weather had been more akin to the norm for this time of year it is likely the result would have been far more favourable,' says Diane Wehrle, Springboard retail insights director.
'Being dominated by fashion – and the fact that it was fashion sales that were the hardest hit - it is not surprising that the greatest toll is on shopping centres, although the degree of increase in footfall in out of town locations that we have come to expect is also greatly reduced. Whilst out of town locations still recorded a positive result in September - reflecting the positive sales in furniture and household goods - the fact that the increase in footfall is by far the most modest of any month in 2014 suggests this channel has felt the impact of the poor performance in fashion - a strong indicator that their success now also hinges on this sector.'