The UK National Index fell 2.4 percent in February year-on-year. However, the footfall index is up 7.6 percent compared to January. The third week of February even saw a year-on-year increase.
Experian UK & Ireland director Steve Richardson said February was marked by “varied fates” for retailers, with some very positive half-year results and at the other extreme more liquidations and closures.
“Industry commentators reported an uplift in sales in January with an outlook of an erratic increase in sales over the coming months, which would appear to be borne out in this month figures,” Richardson said. “We do not as yet appear to have seen a major impact on consumer spending after the downgrade of the UK credit rating from its AAA status”.
The BRC/Springboard Footfall Monitor reported similar numbers, though they were a little more optimistic. It found that footfall in February was up 0.8 percent over last year, an improvement over the 4.6 percent decline in January. It found that high street footfall improved 2.7 percent compared to a year earlier.
Although shoppers are still not returning to the high street, Experian reckons they are doing a bit more shopping at retail parks, which saw an increase in footfall, signalling a trend. However, the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor actually recorded a slight decline in footfall in shopping centres and out-of-town locations.