UK Retail Footfall To Remain Under Pressure If Home Working Continues

(Alliance News) - The decline in UK retail footfall eased in August, though data on Friday showed ...

Alliance News 4 September, 2020 | 5:01AM
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(Alliance News) - The decline in UK retail footfall eased in August, though data on Friday showed it is still trending below the annual average, as the industry reels from office blocks being left empty amid more home working.

According to the British Retail Consortium-Shoppertrak footfall monitor, UK retail footfall declined 35% annually in August, a 7.3 percentage point improvement from July's fall. This was, however, a worse performance than the 12-month average decline of 28%.

High streets struggled the most in August, with footfall down 42%, while in shopping centres, traffic declined 37%. It was the first time since April 2018 that footfall in high streets fell below shopping centres.

In retail parks, thanks in part to wider open spaces, the footfall decline was tempered at 11%.

British Retail Consortium Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said: "Footfall remained well below normal levels in August. In-store discounting and demand for school wear helped lure some customers back to the shops, but with many office blocks still empty and much of the public avoiding public transport, footfall is not returning to towns and city centres and this is having a devastating effect on the local economies in these areas.

"While many businesses have been investing in making workplaces safer, we are unlikely to see significant growth in footfall while government advice remains to 'work from home if you can'. Unless this changes, more should be done to encourage people to travel and reassure them that public transport is safe."

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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