Planning and business rates reform is “essential” for retail footfall recovery in the medium and long term, and would help town and city centres “thrive”, according to the British Retail Consortium.


Annual UK footfall declined, except for Scotland with a 0.2% lift 

The latest footfall figures from the BRC-Sensormatic IQ data in June shows that total UK footfall decreased 2.3% for the month, but was up from a decline of 3.6% in May.

High street footfall fell by 3.1% in June compared with a drop of 2.7% the month before. Retail park footfall saw a 0.4% decline in June against a 2.3% decrease in May, while shopping centre footfall recorded a 3.2% drop, up from a 4.5% deficit in the previous month.

Annual footfall in three of the four UK nations declined, with only Scotland seeing a marginal 0.2% lift in footfall year on year.

England, Northern Ireland and Wales all saw a year-on-year decline of 2.6%, 0.6% and 4.1%, respectively.

Fast-track planning

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “With June failing to live up to last year’s heatwave, overall footfall declined last month compared to the previous year.

“However, retail parks and shopping centres did see an uptick compared to the previous month’s washout, and footfall levels in Edinburgh and Liverpool were boosted as Taylor Swift enchanted crowds of fans.

“Retailers are hoping that warmer weather and maybe, just maybe, a successful European Championships for England could bring footfall home this July.

“As the new government forms today, it is vital that the problems facing local communities are addressed in its first 100 days.

“Planning reform must be a priority. A fast-track planning system, which includes automatic approval in certain cases, will give retailers tools to invest up and down the country. Speeding up these processes, alongside reform of business rates, will help town and city centres to thrive.

“With our high streets undergoing transformation, as properties are used more often for wider purposes beyond retail, these reforms are essential for successful regeneration of local areas across the UK and ensuring footfall recovers in the medium and longer term.”