WRC- SPRINGBOARD FOOTFALL AND VACANCIES MONITOR – AUGUST 2017 

Covering the four weeks 30 July – 26 August 2017

Wales Summary:

  • Footfall rose in Wales by 0.3% which could indicate July’s decline of 0.9% figure was perhaps a blip as it was preceded by 6 months consecutive growth.
  • This is below the three-month average of 0.5% and the twelve-month average of 1.2%.
  • Footfall rose on the High street (0.5%). Wales, alongside with South East were the only two regions to register growth in the High Street in August.
  • Wales continued to see growth (1.6%) in Retail Parks in August, the seventh month of consecutive growth.

Sara Jones, Head of Policy & External Affairs | Welsh Retail Consortium

“Retailers in Wales will be hoping that the July fall in footfall will prove to have been just a temporary blip as footfall growth resumed in August, by 0.3%. Whilst the increase remains a touch under the three-month average and below the twelve-month average of 1.2%, retailers will be aiming for a sustained upward trajectory as we enter the autumn period.

“There can, however, be no doubt that stark challenges lurk around the corner for the retail industry. Purchasing decisions are very much dictated by a shrinking pool of discretionary consumer spend, with the amount of money in people’s pockets set to be dented by inflation and statutory rises in employee pension contributions in a few months’ time. It’s therefore crucial to protect consumers wherever possible from further cost pressures. The Welsh Retail Consortium will be submitting our budget recommendations to the Welsh Finance Secretary this month and we hope that these can be acted upon to ensure that the pressure facing our industry do not negatively impact on both retailers and consumers alike.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director said: 

"The +0.3% rise in Wales’s footfall clearly outperformed the -1.2% drop across the UK, driven by an uplift in high street activity of +0.5% compared with a -2.6% decline across the UK. The uplift in high street footfall in Wales was due to strong performance over the majority of the day; during both retail trading hours when footfall rose by +1.8% compared with -2.1% across the UK, and in the early evening with a rise in footfall of +1.9% compared with a drop of -3.2% for the UK. Indeed, it is part of an ongoing upward trend this year, with increases in every month bar July.

"Part of the reason for more subdued footfall across the UK was a rise in online activity, in terms of both value and volume. Online sales rose by +11%, the greatest rise this year and significantly up on the +6.2% last August and the +8.3% in July. The uplift in online sales volumes at +8.7% was a third higher than the +5.5% in July, with the increase in transactions via mobile devices of 27.6% higher than in any month since October last year. In part the rise in online activity will have been a result of much cooler, rainy weather this August than in 2016 which undoubtedly discouraged some shopping trips. However, it is also a function of increasing inflationary pressures, driving consumers online in a search for lower prices which is likely to only become more significant as inflation continues to increase its bite on household budgets."