Fashion sales hit by July footfall decline in the UK

Fashion sales were hit by lower shopper numbers on the high street and in shopping centres in July, as consumers increased their spending on products for the home and at out of town locations, new data shows.

Footfall in July fell 1.1% against the previous year, below the three month rolling average of -0.4% and the 12 month of -0.2% respectively, according to the latest BRC-Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.

High streets saw the steepest decline in footfall (-2.1%), while shopping centres witnessed their fourth consecutive month of footfall decline, with numbers down 1.3%.

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Retail parks were the only shopping destinations to see growth in July, with footfall climbing 1.7%.

The East and South East were the only two regions that saw footfall growth in July, with the fastest growth in the East, which has now seen eight months of consecutive footfall growth.

Overall, the steepest decline in footfall in July occurred in the South West and Greater London, both showing a fall of 2.1%. Wales showed the first decline in seven months, at -0.9%, while  Scotland saw a further decline from -0.2% in June to -0.4% July.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights director said: “Declining footfall demonstrates that the fall in non-food sales is due to a reduced number of shoppers, so retailers that maintain their in-store footfall are at a clear advantage.

“Despite a drop in fashion sales, consumers increased their spending on products for the home and out of town locations are the beneficiaries. July’s 1.7% increase in out of town footfall is the fifth in as many months, and averaging +1.9% since March compared with -0.3% over the previous five month period,” she continued.

“These results, together with the high level of consumer borrowing and an increase in the vacancy rate to 9.6% from 9.3% in April – the highest it’s been since July last year – suggest that trading conditions could be reaching a tipping point into a period of restraint.”

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