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BRC calls for plans to revitalise retail footfall

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As high street footfall decreased again in May, by 3.6% YoY, the British Retail Consortium has urged all political parties to come up with policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations.

With only five weeks until the general election, the BRC stressed that “politicians of all stripes” must address the issues of “a broken business rates system and outdated planning laws”.

“This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations,” explained Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

Footfall did see improvement on April. High street footfall decreased by 2.7% in May YoY, but it was up from -6.9% on the previous month. Retail Park footfall decreased by 2.3% in May (YoY), up from -6.2% in April, while shopping centre footfall decreased by 4.5% in May (YoY), up from -7.2% in April.

Wet weather had been blamed for the disappointing April. According to the Office for National Statistics, clothing retailers, sports equipment, games and toys stores, as well as furniture stores, were all impacted by the damp April. Additionally, the amount spent online also fell by 1.2% during April 2024, and by 1.5% over the year. This follows two consecutive months of ‘flat sales’ in both February and March.

“UK footfall declined in May, as bank holidays and improving weather failed to entice customers to make in person trips to shopping destinations” noted Dickinson.

“All locations did improve on the previous month while Birmingham performed best out of the major cities, showing a positive footfall trend. Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.”

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