Shopper numbers up in April

Footfall figures were up on UK high streets last month, according to industry data, despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and record inflation.

The latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ footfall monitor showed that total UK footfall dipped 1.5 percentage points between March and April this year, but figures were 5.3 per cent higher than in April 2022.

Within that, shopper numbers on high streets jumped 10.5 per cent year-on-year, while shopping centres reported a 7.9 per cent improvement. However, retail parks saw a 6.9 per cent decline.

England saw the highest increase in footfall at 9.7 per cent, followed by Scotland at 7.7 per cent and Wales at three per cent. Northern Ireland saw the lowest increase at 2.9 per cent.

Breaking it down further, and rather confusingly, Edinburgh and London saw the biggest growths in footfall figures compared to April 22, at +29.4 and +10 per cent respectively. Followed by Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool. By contrast, Belfast and Leeds saw the shallowest growth.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said that retail footfall is “finding a new balance”, as the rise in online shopping and spread of hybrid working has changed consumer shopping habits.

“While we expect footfall to continue to improve, it may never reach the levels seen prior to the pandemic.” Although, Ms Dickinson added: “There is good cause for optimism in the coming month, as the Coronation is expected to bring a surge in footfall over the bank holiday.”