High Street footfall rose to its highest level in three years last month, according to the most recent BRC Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.
May saw retail footfall rise to 0.3% year on year, which was an improvement on the 2.4% decrease of April, and substantially more than the -1.7% three month average.
After a 4.7% decline in April, high street footfall rose by 1.2%, which, excluding Easter distortions, is the best high street performance in just short of three years (July 2013).
Retail park locations saw a 1.2% YOY increase in footfall, which is also up from April’s 1.1% rise. Although this is a slight increase from the previous month, since January the rate of growth has steadily been decreasing.
Footfall in shopping centres went down by 2.1%, which is lower than April’s 0.7% and that is now twice in 2016 that the high street has outperformed shopping centres in terms of footfall.
British Retail Consortium Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson OBE, said the latest BRC figures provide some respite from the unrelenting downward trend that has been seen over the course of the last few months.
However, she admits that the data also shows that the sales upturn of the last month has been primarily driven by online sales rather than in stores.
Ms Dickinson says that a decrease in floor sales and an increase in overall footfall backs up the growing trend of using the high street for leisure activities and researching purchases made online or through mobile devices.
Meanwhile, Springboard’s marketing and insights director, Diane Wehrle, commented that last month’s modest increase doe not mean that we will see a positive trend over the next few months.
She added that this is just the 14th occasion over the last six year period that we have seen a rise in footfall, during which time footfall increased in consecutive months on only two occasions.