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High Street UK retail suffers worst November footfall decline in 9 years

By Dan Wilson December 11, 2018 - 10:56 am

UK retail sales on the High Street have wobbled in November 2018. It’s the worst year since the terrible recession 9 years ago. But what is the reason? Surely we should be seeing a strong recovery. It is easy to squarely blame Amazon or online retail in general, but aren’t the problems being experienced on the High Street rather more complex? Amazon isn’t the only enemy.

It seems like retail is increasingly heading from the High Street to online as real life shops increasingly suffer a decline in footfall and sales. The latest retail figures certainly seem to suggest that the internet is winning. And that might not be a good thing. Black Friday, it is noted, doesn’t trickle down to physical outlets.

The retail numbers in November 2018 have been particularly poor. And it seems fair to suggest that Brexit may also be playing a part. It seems probable that we could be edging towards a period where investment quite simply isn’t happening. Uncertainty may vary well be meaning that inward investment doesn’t come though as we would hope it might in retail.

The 3.2% drop in footfall in November is indisputable evidence that Black Friday delivers no tangible benefit to bricks and mortar stores. Whilst online shopping was inevitably more prevalent than in other months, the vast majority of spending still remained in-store and this is what Black Friday impacts adversely.

Since 2013, when Black Friday became established as a key trading day, footfall has decreased in every year bar one and the only increase in 2017 was just 0.2%. This year, amidst all of the other challenges facing retail, the drop in footfall of 3.2% in November was the largest of any November since Springboard started publishing footfall data in 2009.
– Diane Wehrle, director, Springboard insights

Breaking down the footfall figures between retail location types, the high street suffered a decline of 3.8% while retail park footfall declined by 1.4%. This apparently marks four months of consecutive weakening numbers for UK retail and the largest decline since April when it fell by 4%. Shopping centre footfall declined by 3.8%, which was a sharper decline relative to the October drop of 3.3%.

  • Toby
    1 month ago

    I see it as this…. For years councils have seen car parks as cash cows. Some of the fees are now stupid. Then add to it congestion, lack of spaces, and yes… even just having to walk from shop to shop. If you want to return something… that’s another drive, parking fee, walk etc.
    People have busy lives and would much rather shop from their sofa!
    Of course then you can add the fact that online you can search for what you want faster, and check out who is cheapest all in one hit.
    It’s not rocket science to see why people are abandoning the highstreet.
    However every silver cloud has a dark lining….. Remember when we all flocked to supermarkets for the convenience, and when all the little shops had gone we moaned about that? Well, when we find we can’t actually go and physically look at an item first anymore, or online prices go up to pay for the never ending public demands for free this and that are put on sellers. When the big online retailers have knocked out the smaller ones….. then we will proberly start moaning about that too!
    Sadly we are all too quick to suit ourself at the time, with little thought as to the longer term.

  • jim
    1 month ago

    impractical expensive rules regulations , plus
    local authority jobsworths, intransigent, is our biggest headache to our high street premises viability,
    we now see our retail premises main use as a storage for internet stock,
    with any face to face sales as a bonus

  • james
    1 month ago

    Yup, going shopping these days is anything but fun.

    I step into a shopping centre these days and i feel like i’m walking into a fight, a pyschological battle against a much bigger, better prepared, and uncaring enemy on their home turf.
    everything about the place has been designed to get me to part with as much cash as possible, from the layout of the space, the angles of the walls, the curvature of the pillars, to the vanilla lift music gently chiming out the hidden speakers.
    Given the option i’ll just pass on all of that, thanks.
    that’s before i’ve started on the prices, the ques at this time of year, the lack of accessibility, the other people in the shop (not all of them, but you know the ones i mean).

    how long have we been suffering the plight of the store assistant.
    17 times he’ll hit you with “can i help you with anything”? until you’re about to blow a fuse, then when you do actually need them, nowhere to be found.
    – you could present this problem to a class of 12 year old and they’d come up with a perfectly valid solution within ten minutes. easily. i know the retail ‘experts’ could have it solved tomorrow, but they don’t want to, they’re extemely happy to make you as uncomfortable as possible, if they believe that approach nets them an extra 0.7% annual income than having happy, comfortable shoppers.
    people never factor for the long term effects of this kind of practice. people got sick of it. i hope the shops treasured that extra 0.7% you gleaned, last year becuase now nobody wants anything to do with you and your like, and we have little to no sympathy for you.

    I think when most of us hark back to the old high street experience we’re going to miss, we remember when you used to be able to go out with an item in mind, acquire that item, and get home again with a minimum of fuss. not the recent experience of being up-sold into something you never knew existed before you left the house, returning with a massive backlog of pent up stress and anxiety you can’t place your finger on.

    retail therapy. lmfao. these days you need therapy for retail.

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