Rise in shop visitors could be upended by cost of living crisis, report warns

According to figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), visitor numbers inched up 0.6% between April and May, but are down 12.5% since 2019

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The Jubilee fervour driving shoppers back to bricks-and-mortar stores is “fragile” and could be upended by the cost-of-living crisis, experts have warned.

According to figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), visitor numbers inched up 0.6% between April and May, but are down 12.5% since 2019.

However, this is ahead of Italy, France and Germany, where the three-year decline stands around a fifth.

Shoppers going back to bricks-and-mortar stores is driven by the Jubilee, in a trend that has been described as 'fragile'.
Shoppers going back to bricks-and-mortar stores is driven by the Jubilee, in a trend that has been described as 'fragile'.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson noted that footfall, up for the third month in a row, had been spurred on by Platinum Jubilee parties.

“The anticipation for the Jubilee celebrations offered an added boost to footfall, with the public hitting the shops to find the best decorations and festive food and drink for the long weekend,” she said.

Retail parks have missed out on a Jubilee boost according to new figures.
Retail parks have missed out on a Jubilee boost according to new figures.

However, Ms Dickinson cautioned that this modest increase could be wiped away by rising inflation and falling consumer confidence.

“Improvement to footfall remains fragile as the cost-of-living bites,” she said.

“With UK discretionary incomes falling, government’s financial support to tackle surging energy costs may only provide temporary respite for households.”

Visitors to shopping centres have plummeted by a quarter in the last three years while high street footfall dropped 13.6% – though this is up 3.6% in a month.

Retail parks missed out on a Jubilee boost, with numbers dropping 6.3% since 2019 and 2.3% since April.

England saw the shallowest footfall decline of the UK nations on -11.9%, followed by Northern Ireland (-12.9%), Wales (-16%), and Scotland (-16.4%).