Footfall in October dropped 2.9% year on year despite news last week that recovery had ‘taken hold’.
On a three-month rolling basis, this is the worst performance since the start of the year. September’s footfall fell 2.4% while August’s dipped 0.9%.
The high street was the most impacted, with shopper numbers down 3.6%, while shopping centre visitors dipped 2.9%, according to the BRC and Springboard Footfall Monitor.
Out-of-town footfall improved slightly but was still down 1.2%. This reflects the BRC and KPMG’s latest retail figures, which showed that sales of furniture and homewares – often sited in retail parks – were holding up, while other categories were more subdued.
Footfall was down in all regions across the UK apart from the East, which edged up 0.8%.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “It’s disappointing to see shopper numbers falling again after September’s slowdown, with only one area of the UK showing growth. Although recent months have hinted at economic recovery, many of us are still cautious and keen to manage budgets ahead of Christmas.”
“Despite the tentative optimism in the air, it’s clear that conditions remain challenging. Retailers will be hoping that a festive boost to browsing and buying puts things back on a more even keel over the coming months.”
The news comes after the Bank of England’s latest quarterly inflation report raised the forecast for UK economic growth this year and next. Governor Mark Carney said economic recovery had “taken hold”.
October shop vacancy rates remained unchanged from July at 11.1%.
Northern Ireland was the most impacted country, with a vacancy rate of 18.5% and footfall down 9.8% last month, from a 3.1% fall in September.