Shopper footfall stumbles in November amid cost-of-living fears
Shopper footfall stumbled again in November as the soaring cost-of-living crisis put consumers off Christmas spending.
Total UK footfall was 13.3% below pre-pandemic levels last month and 1.5 percentage points worse than October, according to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data.
High street footfall was down 13.6% on November 2019, two percentage points worse than last month’s rate and worse than the three-month average decline of 12.3%.
Retail parks saw a relatively shallow decline of 4.2% but shopping centres saw 23.2% fewer visits than November 2019.
Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Chief Executive Officer, said: “Footfall took another stumble as the cost-of-living crisis put off some consumers from visiting the shops in November. Others opted to stay home due to the scattering of rail strikes or chose the World Cup over shopping visits.
“Many big cities were particularly hard hit, with Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester all seeing the biggest drops in footfall since January.
“Rising inflation and low consumer confidence continue to dampen spending expectations in the run up to Christmas. Despite retailers doing their best to keep prices as low as possible for their customers, financial concerns are trumping spending for many households.
“But, with three more weeks to Christmas, retailers hope that the festive spirit may still give a welcome boost to both footfall and retail sales.”
Andy Sumpter from Sensormatic Solutions added: “As retailers readied themselves for the start of peak trading ‘proper’, November brought a slew of disruption and opportunity, almost in equal measure.
“While train strikes did spell disruption to many, concerns that the untested format of a ‘Christmas World Cup’ could take the shine off retailers’ Black Friday efforts proved unfounded, with the results in-store bettering the results on the field for England and Wales.
“With footfall on Black Friday surpassing 2021 levels, retailers will be hoping this signposts a resilience in consumer demand, even in the context of the rising cost of living, as they head into the critical December Christmas trading period.”
According to data from Springboard, overall November footfall across all UK destinations covering the four weeks from 30 October – 26 November 2022 was given a major boost by Black Friday, but a lull in shopping activity is predicted to follow in December.