Total retail footfall in the UK dropped by 1.6% last month on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.

The decrease is below July 2023’s figure of +1.8%.

During the month, footfall of high streets decreased by 0.9% YoY, a fall from +1.6% in the prior month.

Shopping centres across the UK saw footfall slip back by 3.8% YoY in August, down from the growth of 0.2% in July.

The data also revealed that Scotland saw a YoY rise, with footfall growth of 0.4% in the month.

England experienced YoY footfall decline of 1.3% while Wales and Northern Ireland posted YoY footfall decreases of -1.7% and -4.7% respectively in August.

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By GlobalData

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Footfall took a turn for the worse in August as the summer sun failed to materialise. The impact was made worse when compared to last year’s heatwave, where many shoppers rushed to the shops to buy clothing, BBQs and other outdoor essentials. This month it was shopping centres that took the biggest hit while high streets were also significantly down on last year.

“The rise in tourism, which returned to pre-Covid levels last month, did not help key shopping destinations. Government should re-introduce a tax-free shopping scheme to attract international shoppers, who are currently choosing other destinations. Unless action is taken, the UK remains the only European country without a VAT-free shopping scheme.”

Recently, data from BRC revealed that food inflation in the UK slowed to 11.5% in August from 13.4% in July.