Footfall dropped 0.7% in June, but out-of-town retail locations continued to outperform the market, posting growth for the sixth consecutive month.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) – Springboard Footfall and Vacancy Monitor revealed footfall at out-of-town locations jumped 2.4% in the month against last year.
But high street footfall was weakest with shopper numbers down 1.7%. Shopping centres also posted a footfall drop of 1.2%.
The sharpest drops in June were found in the West Midlands, where footfall was down by 5.2%, and Greater London where it fell by 2.7%. But four regions recorded growth, as the Southeast posted a 0.4% lift, footfall in the Southwest grew 1.3%, visitor numbers in the East jumped 2.2% and Northern Ireland posted footfall up 11.8%.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said that the figures point to a growing trend away from city centre shopping.
She said: “At first glance, this month’s figures don’t paint a rosy picture for the retail industry with the headline figure showing footfall shrinking once again. However, out-of-town shopping destinations continue to outperform high streets and shopping centres, reinforcing the fact that shopping is something we increasingly do as a leisure activity and that well managed ‘destinations’, whether in or out of town, still have the power to pull in the shopping public.
“However, strong footfall doesn’t always equate to good sales and vice-versa. Retailers have seen good sales growth in their online clothing and footwear offer and many are reporting positive results led by their online summer sales”.
Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle added: ‘’June is the sixth month in a row in which activity in retail and shopping parks has increased, and so it appears that the trend for consumers to favour out of town locations over urban shopping environments has established itself as a key feature of 2014.
“In sharp contrast, in both high streets and shopping centres footfall has dropped in all but one month this year, which reinforces the much recognised need for investment in our long established and strategically significant town centre retail locations.”