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UK retailers continue to face difficult trading conditions

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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High Street Credits: FashionUnited

In the latest retail footfall analysis covering the four weeks from December 31, 2023, to January 27, 2024, BRC-Sensormatic IQ data reveals a continued decline in UK footfall. Total UK footfall decreased by 2.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) in January, showing a slight improvement from the 5.0 percent decline in December. High Street footfall decreased by 2.3 percent, Retail Parks by 1.8 percent, and Shopping Centre footfall by 5.0 percent, each showing a moderate decline compared to the previous month.

The downturn in footfall was observed across all of the UK, with England experiencing the smallest YoY drop at -2.6 percent. Scotland followed with a YoY drop of -2.7 percent, while Wales and Northern Ireland recorded declines of -4.5 percent and -6.8 percent, respectively.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, noted that footfall remained on a downward trajectory in January, with stormy weather contributing to a larger decline in Shopping Centres and High Streets towards the end of the month. Dickinson emphasized the need for increased investment in the retail industry to support local and national economic growth.

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, said the challenges faced by retailers, including disruptions from named storms, ongoing cost-of-living pressures, and persistent inflation. Despite the continued decrease in shopper traffic, Sumpter suggested a cautious optimism for a potential recovery, especially as inflation eases and consumer confidence improves.

Overall, the data suggests a nuanced retail landscape with challenges but hints at a cautious optimism for a potential recovery in the coming months.

High street
Sensormatic Solutions