Written by DC member Chris Dobson, Dobson Marketing
Springboard, the leading provider of insights on bricks and mortar retail activity, tracking and forecasting footfall says February highlighted the fragility of high streets, with the severe and ongoing rain leading to a drop in High Street footfall of -7.8% writes Chris Dobson.
Shopping centres and retail parks still appealed to many shoppers by virtue of either their covered environment or ease of access and proximity of parking, which in retail parks is free of charge.
Retail park footfall declined by just -1.1%; the 6.7% disparity between the monthly result for retail parks and high streets clearly shows how much more sheltered retail parks are from many of the vagaries that derail high streets.
Larger shopping centres are leading their recovery; in the largest centres of more than half a million sq ft footfall dropped by just -1.1% compared with -4.2% in smaller centres and -8.0% in centres of less than 100,000 sq ft.
Coronavirus did not have a noticeable impact on footfall in February, but the month ended before the warning of its increased severity was made. Moving forward it is likely that shopper activity will be stemmed as consumers become more wary about interacting in public spaces.
It seems that Q1 of 2020 will be challenging for bricks and mortar retailers, but experience has proven that footfall bounces back quickly once the immediate period of concern has passed.
“If further proof of the fragility of high streets were needed, it was provided in February when the impact of the severe and ongoing rain led to a drop in footfall of -7.8%. Whilst an average of 17 days of rain across the UK over the month led to shoppers staying away from high streets, shopping centres and retail parks still appealed to many by virtue of either their covered environment or ease of access and proximity of parking, which in retail parks is free of charge,” says Springboard.
“A disparity of 6.7% between the monthly result for high streets and retail parks clearly demonstrates the exposure to extreme conditions that high streets have to contend with. In contrast, retail parks are much more sheltered and a major part of their advantage is their free and accessible parking.”