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November 8, 2021

BRC reports 13.7% decline in UK retail footfall in October

The increase in retail footfall was attributed partly to half term and Halloween.

Retail footfall in the UK fell by 13.7% last month from two years prior, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.

The data covers the four weeks from 3 October to 30 October and shows a 3.2% increase from September.

This figure is above the three-month average decrease of 16.0%.

During the month, footfall in high street retail dropped by 18.3%, but improved by 4.3% from the previous month.

Despite relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions, footfall in shopping centres fell by 33.6% compared to two years earlier and was 2.6% higher than in September.

According to the data, Northern Ireland recorded the lowest footfall decline at 10.8%, while Wales, England and Scotland saw 13.1%, 13.7% and 17.0% declines respectively.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It was great to see the UK leading the way for footfall in October among the major European economies.

“This gives more retailers a reason to be hopeful as we enter the crucial golden quarter, with many embracing both digital and physical connections with their customers and indicates that retail is playing a key part in the economic recovery.

“Footfall in retail parks almost reached its pre-pandemic level, with their attractive offer of larger stores and free parking.”

Sensormatic Solutions Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) retail consultant Andy Sumpter said: “October’s footfall bounced back after the September slowdown, as traffic was bolstered by half term and Halloween – now retail’s third-biggest trading event after Christmas and Easter.

“Halloween proved a welcomed excuse for seasonal socialising and helped consumer confidence around in-store shopping to remain un-spooked by the UK’s rising Covid-19 infection rates.”

Last month, the BRC released data showing that retail footfall in the UK fell by 16.8% in September compared to two years prior.

The data showed a 1.2% increase from a month earlier for the five weeks from 29 August to 2 October.