Covering the four weeks 01 October – 28 October 2023
According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data: 

  • Total UK footfall decreased by 5.7% in October (YoY), down from -2.9% in September.
    • High Street footfall decreased by 4.6% in October (YoY), down from -1.7% in September.
    • Retail Parks footfall decreased by 4.3% in October (YoY), down from -2.4% in September.
    • Shopping Centre footfall decreased by 7.3% in October (YoY), down from -4.0% in September.
  • Of the UK nations, England saw the least significant YoY drop in footfall, showing a decrease of 5.3%. Scotland saw a YoY drop in footfall of 5.5%. This was followed by Wales at 5.6% and Northern Ireland at 6.8%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

Umbrellas were up as heavy rainfall descended across the UK in October, leading many shoppers to stay at home. As inflationary pressures on households begin to ease, some people are shopping around slightly less, braving the rain only to make their final purchases. This led to a larger year on year drop in footfall in all shopping locations than we saw in September.
While consumer confidence may be higher than 2022 it is still very weak, dropping over the last month. The economic landscape remains tough, with input prices and cost pressures above normal levels. Retailers are investing heavily in their Christmas offering – trying to provide the best value and service for their customers. The Government must ensure it does not unnecessarily burden retailers with additional costs and the Autumn Budget offers an opportunity to avoid a £470m-per-year business rates rise, which would push up prices and limit industry growth.

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented:

October saw overall footfall decline again year-on-year, off the back of subdued September figures, with shopper traffic regionally impacted by Storm Babet which delivered the most severe and widespread disruptive weather of the year to date.  The ongoing cost-of-living pressure continues, despite inflationary easing, to impact shopper behaviour through October. Our destination data seems to show that consumers are visiting fewer stores during each trip. This suggests a move away from shopping around for the lowest prices and best deals toward more focused purchasing as consumers become more accepting of the current reality of paying more to buy less.  With this in mind retailers must capture customer loyalty and spend as early as possible.  As we head into the critical Christmas purchasing period the focus must be on optimising their online presence or creating engaging experiences that can entice passing trade in-store to be converted into sales.