Footfall across the UK stalled in July, falling 28% when compared to the same period in 2019, pre-pandemic, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium.
There was a 0.4% drop from June, below the three-month average of 27.7%.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “After improvements in footfall in the early part of 2021, the situation has plateaued with little change in footfall levels for a third month in a row.”
Dickinson believes the turbulent weather, with initial heatwaves giving over to torrential rain, appears to have dampened the mood for shopping in July, with a particularly pronounced fall in footfall at retail parks.
However, the last week of July offered a glimmer of hope for retailers as the easing of restrictions lead to the best weekly performance of 2021.
“Retailers hope this trend will continue as the rise of vaccinations and falling coronavirus case numbers boosts consumer confidence.”
Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “With July’s wet weather dampening shoppers’ spirits, high street footfall stayed subdued as consumers remained cautious. Even the hotly debated ‘Freedom Day’ failed to significantly shift the dial on shopper counts, perhaps losing some of its ‘shine’ to the EURO’s which brought forward shopping and socialising trips to earlier in the month.
“And in a tale of two halves, Freedom Day may have split consumer confidence, with those revelling in newfound freedoms increasing the frequency of their shopping trips, while those concerned about the relaxation of restrictions on social distancing and mask-wearing becoming more inclined to stay away.
“However, while footfall performance was flat compared to June, the trajectory in the second half of July gave cause for more cautious optimism; weekend shopper counts improved by 7 percentage points week-on-week following Freedom Day. Retailers will now be hoping caution will give way to growing consumer confidence so that they can capitalise on summer trading.”