Bira states further low retail footfall is “concerning” and “disappointing”

The British Independent Retail Association (Bira) has said further low footfall levels, following a drop in May, is both "concerning" and "disappointing".

31 May, 24

The British Independent Retail Association (Bira) has said further low footfall levels, following a drop in May, is both  “concerning” and “disappointing”.

Bira states low May footfall is “concerning” and "disappointing"

It commented on the British Retail Consortium (BRC) IQ Footfall Monitor report for May 2024, which revealed a trend of decreased footfall across UK retail locations.

This follows on from a difficult start to 2024, according to Bira’s first Heartbeat Survey of its members, which found 46.5% of respondents said their Q1 2024 trading was somewhat or much worse than Q4 2023.

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Bira also found confidence for Q2 2024 is relatively low, with 42.6% of respondents feeling somewhat or highly unconfident about April to June,  with 29.7% neutral and 27.8% somewhat or highly confident.

Key findings from the BRC footfall monitor in May include , year-on-year drop in total UK footfall by 3.6%, decrease of 2.7% in high street footfall, dip of 2.3% in retail park footfall and shopping centre decline.

However, these figures were up from the previous figures in April, as total footfall was reported at -7.2%, high street footfall was -6.9%, retail partk footfall was -6/2% and shopping centre footfall was -7.2%.

And Bira has previously stated the fall in inflation is a step towards bringing people back to the high street.

CEO of Bira Andrew Goodacre commented on the BRC footfall monitor in May: “These figures for footfall are very disappointing and highlight the challenges faced by independent retailers.

“We have an election on the 4th of July, and whoever comes into government must prioritise restoring consumer confidence.

“It’s crucial for the new government to understand the importance of supporting local businesses to ensure the vitality of our high streets and shopping centers.

“The upcoming election represents a critical juncture for the retail community.

“Bira urges all political candidates to consider robust measures that will boost consumer confidence and stimulate retail activity.

“This includes potential fiscal incentives, marketing campaigns to promote local shopping, and broader economic policies that enhance disposable income and spending power among consumers,” he added.

Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC chief executive, said: “UK footfall declined in May, as bank holidays and improving weather failed to entice customers to make in person trips to shopping destinations.

“All locations did improve on the previous month while Birmingham performed best out of the major cities, showing a positive footfall trend.

“Retailers will be hopeful that a warm summer, coupled with events such as the European Championships and Olympics, will boost footfall across all major shopping destinations across the UK.

“With an election only five weeks away, political parties have a role to play too by having policies that mean retailers can invest in rejuvenating shopping destinations across the UK.

“A broken business rates system and outdated planning laws are holding back the industry – politicians of all stripes must address these issues.

“This will boost economic growth, lift consumer spirits, and help drive more shoppers back to our high streets and other retail destinations.”