Retail footfall struggled in November, industry data showed on Friday, as the cost of living crisis dampened spending.
According to the latest BRC-SensormaticIQ Footfall Monitor, total UK footfall rose 3.7% year-on-year in the four weeks to 26 November. Within that, footfall rose 8% on high streets and by 7% in shopping centres, but fell 4% in retail parks.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels, however, footfall fell sharply, down 13.3% year-on-three-years, 1.5 percentage points below October and worse than the three-month average decline of 11.5%.
Shopping centres saw footfall slide 23.2% year-on-three-years. On high streets it fell 13.6% and by 4.2% in retail parks.
Big cities were particularly hard hit, the British Retail Consortium noted, with Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol seeing the biggest drops in footfall since January.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “Footfall took another stumble as the cost of living crisis put off some consumers. Others opted to stay home due to the scattering of rail strikes, or chose the World Cup over shopping visits.
“Rising inflation and low consumer confidence continue to dampen spending expectations in the run up to Christmas.”
Andy Sumpter, EMEA retail consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, said: “As retailers readied themselves for the start of peak trading, November brought a slew of disruption and opportunity, almost in equal measures. While train strikes did spell disruption to many, concerns that the untargeted format of a Christmas World Cup could take the shine off retailers’ Black Friday efforts proved unfounded.”
For many retailers, Christmas is the most important trading period of the year, with shoppers traditionally splashing out on big-ticket homewares as well as presents and Christmas food.