Synovate’s retail traffic index has shown that last month’s retail footfall was 3.4% lower than October 2009.
The figures follow a 3.0% decline in September and the twelfth consecutive month that a year-on-year deficit in the RTI has been recorded. Month-on-month footfall (October on September) also fell by 0.7%.
Director of Retail Intelligence and retail psychologist at Synovate, Dr Tim Denison commented: "Store footfall figures are certainly going the wrong way for retailers at present. The year-on-year comparatives over the last couple of months are particularly disappointing, though October 2009 was a strong month. Of course, there is a structural element to bear in mind here – increasingly, more browsing and price comparing is being done online, rather than through visiting stores, but, that behavioural shift is not solely accountable for the ongoing and worsening deficit.”
Denison continued to explain that the decline may be to do with the Government’s announcement of its plans to cut public spending next year, feeding people’s anxieties about how the cuts may affect their “ability to cope financially”. Fears over job cuts were also mentioned in Denison’s comments along with shop price inflation which saw supermarkets inflate by 4.4%, leaving less money to spend on “discretionary goods”.
He concluded by saying: "We can expect to see the high street snow-deep in promotions over the winter to stimulate demand, but retailers will find it difficult to avoid passing some of the rising costs on to consumers. Increasingly, we are hearing our clients talk about ‘coping strategies’ to enable them to steer themselves through a difficult winter and to help their customers do the same. There seems to be a renewed sense of social responsibility and transparency in the industry which should be welcomed and encouraged."