Footfall in May fell by 1% in the UK on the same month in the previous year, the first decline since February.
The decline, which was mirrored in the month’s sales performance, has been attributed to poor weather at the beginning of May, according to the latest BRC – Springboard Footfall Vacancies Monitor.
High streets fared particularly badly in May, reporting a 2% decline in footfall, the biggest fall since June, while shopping centre footfall fell 1.3%.
Despite the loss in momentum, average growth over the three-month period from March through May remained positive at 0.7% thanks to Easter’s boost in shopper numbers.
The news means that it is the first time UK footfall has experienced two consecutive periods of three-month average growth since June-August 2013, following positive average growth from February through April.
Footfall to retail park destinations grew by 1.5% last month, but this was below the three-month average growth rate of 1.8%.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said that May’s decline was “unsurprising” given the Easter surge and the fact that UK consumers tend to exercise greater restraint in the run up to a general election.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “After the Easter boost in shopper numbers to retail destinations, footfall fell in May, which was mirrored in the month’s sales performance. But it wasn’t just shops that suffered; poor weather at the beginning of the month kept people indoors and made it a poor month for footfall in general with fewer people out and about.
“The biggest movement was noticeable in the number of visitors to the high street, which after several months of growth, saw the steepest decline since June last year. In an uncertain economic climate, retailers will be looking to the next Government to deliver on their commitment to fundamental reform of business rates; to implement a more sustainable system that allows for growth and investment.”