Total footfall in the UK retail sector decreased by 5.7% in October 2023 on a year-on-year basis (YoY), according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.

The figure was down from 2.9% in September.

During the four weeks to 28 October 2023, high street footfall decreased by 4.6% YoY, down from 1.7% the previous month.

Shopping centres across the UK recorded a 7.3% YoY footfall decline in October, down from 4.0% in September.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson stated: “Umbrellas were up as heavy rainfall descended across the UK in October, leading many shoppers to stay at home.

“As inflationary pressures on households begin to ease, some people are shopping around slightly less, braving the rain only to make their final purchases. This led to a larger year-on-year drop in footfall in all shopping locations than we saw in September.”

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By GlobalData

Regionally, England posted the shallowest YoY footfall drop at 5.3% during October 2023, followed by Scotland, which recorded a YoY drop in footfall of 5.5%.

Wales and Northern Ireland reported a YoY footfall drop of 5.6% and 6.8% respectively.

Helen Dickinson added: “While consumer confidence may be higher than 2022, it is still very weak, dropping over the last month. The economic landscape remains tough, with input prices and cost pressures above normal levels. Retailers are investing heavily in their Christmas offerings – trying to provide the best value and service for their customers.

“The government must ensure it does not unnecessarily burden retailers with additional costs and the Autumn Budget offers an opportunity to avoid a £470m-per-year business rates rise, which would push up prices and limit industry growth.”