It has been the wettest June on record but that didn’t stop us shopping. Also the recent hikes in interest rates seem to be have had little tightening effect on our purse strings. And Brighton has seen particularly good growth year on year.
Figures released this week by Experian show an increase in footfall of 2.9% since last month and although year on year growth is down nationally the gap has closed somewhat for the month of June.
Interestingly, while the rest of the nation has seen footfall figures fall this year compared with last, Brighton has consistently seen a year on year increase.
Perhaps the bad weather and increasing cost of living have caused people to feel low and one sure way to raise spirits is retail therapy. People appear to be less concerned about debt and insolvency and so maybe the economists at the Bank of England need to rethink the traditional theories on how to bring consumer spending down.
Martin Davies, spokesperson for FootFall said, “June saw the Retail FootFall Index (RFI) down 2.6% year-on-year, which was the lowest annual fall to date. While footfall remains lower than 12 months ago, the gap is less than at any time this year and this is encouraging news for retailers and shopping centres. This is further boosted by the fact that the index was up by 2.9% on May, which was the first month-on-month increase since February.
“Traditionally in June, footfall either remains static or falls as in the past, it has been seen as the start of the summer lull for shopper visits to the high street. However, the peculiarities of the British weather have undoubtedly played a part in increasing footfall in June, alongside the onset of the summer sales, as would be consumers have swapped sunbathing for shopping, with the rain driving people indoors to use shopping as a rainy day activity.
“On a weekly basis, the torrential weather experienced throughout the past few weeks had a mixed influence on consumer behaviour. During the main week of flooding national footfall levels fell considerably (– 3.6%) on the same week last year. In addition to wanting to keep out of the wet, the concerns about flooding and reported travel problems have caused shoppers to examine the ‘necessity factor’ of their shopping trips before setting out and facing possible disruption.
“However, the following week showed a week-on-week rise of 4.1%. Continuing bad weather is no longer deterring consumers. They are braving conditions to buy necessities and also items to help prepare them for the upcoming holiday season, possibly carrying out trips deferred from the previous week.
Davies concludes, “Figures for July will determine whether the recent month-on-month rise in shopper visits was a weather-based blip or emerging trend, as the sales get into full swing amidst the likelihood of continuing unpredictable weather”.
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