Retail footfall crept up in November driven by Black Friday offers and strong shopper turn out in the Southeast and North of England.
Footfall climbed 0.2% overall in the month to November 25, above the three and 12-month average declines of 1% and 0.4% respectively.
According to the BRC Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, the Southeast and North and Yorkshire regions recorded the strongest growth in shopper traffic, with both areas posting 1.6% increases.
In contrast, Northern Ireland suffered the steepest fall, down 2.4%, while Greater London reported a 0.1% dip.
Shopping centres were the worst-performing retail locations overall and only posted footfall growth in the South West and Wales.
Footfall at retail parks continued to rise, but at the slower rate of 0.3% – a stark drop from a 1.8% jump six months earlier.
Spending will ‘inevitably weaken’
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Though very welcome after four consecutive months of decline, the month’s growth in footfall is unlikely to signal a reversal of the longer-term trend.
“As price increases for food continue to eat into household finances, consumer spending power for discretionary non-food items will inevitably weaken.
“So a cautious consumer may sap some of the sparkle from this year’s Christmas trading, which means retailers are going to have to compete even harder for customer spend, which is always good news for consumers.”
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle warned the increase in footfall should be “taken with a pinch of salt” and did not ”indicate a change in the winter fortunes of retailers”.
Wehrle added: “With nothing fundamental shifting in terms of inflation or interest rates over the intervening period since October, it lends further weight to the frequently quoted argument that Black Friday simply shifted the Christmas trading calendar forward.
“In the light of this, we are anticipating that footfall will be further challenged into December.”