Data: Footfall plunges amid poor weather and early Easter

Poor weather and early Easter contributed to a decline in footfall across the UK, according to new data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Figures show total UK footfall declined by 7.2% in the four weeks ending 27 April year-on-year, down from the 1.3% fall in March.

Worse hit was shopping centre footfall, which dropped by 7.2% year on year in April, down from 0.3% in March.

High street and retail park were both hard hit, with visitor numbers falling 6.9% down from -1.5% and 6.2% down from -3.5% in March, respectively.

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British retail consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “While UK footfall was impacted by poor weather last month, this was artificially exacerbated by the comparison with 2023, when Easter was in April.

“All locations saw declines on the previous month, and nearly all major cities performed similarly poorly. However, there was good news in Edinburgh, where footfall was positive once again owing to the investment in local shopping locations in the Scottish capital over the past few years.”

“It is now vital that elected councillors, mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners all play their part in designing the right planning, transport and neighbourhood safety policies to create thriving shopping destinations in communities across the country. These actions, locally and nationally, can contribute to boosting footfall and revitalising retail centres.”

The new data comes despite grocer Sainsbury’s last month hailing the return of customers to brick-and-mortar stores.

The UK’s second largest supermarket revealed its online sales had been above 20% during the pandemic, but had now returned to an average of 13%.

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