The first week in March has seen a slight drop in footfall figures for Brighton city centre. The figure is down slightly on last year and on the previous week. This is the first drop in a very long time.
Until now Brighton has been resisting the recession quite well with footfall continuing to rise throughout the last year in spite of all the doom and gloom-mongering.
This is the first time the figures have been down without an obvious explanation such as snow or a date change for a public holiday.
This may well be the first sign of decline but it is interesting to note that Churchill Square is still holding up and has not experienced this dip in numbers.
The national picture is also looking very gloomy for February after a reasonably buoyant January. Footfall is down 1.7% and retail sales values fell 1.8% on a like-for-like basis. This indicates a resistance among consumers to shop in spite of VAT and interest rate reductions designed to stimulate spending.
Footfall in Brighton city centre is down 1.6% on the same week last year and 6.4% on the previous week. Churchill Square however continues to rise and for the first week of March is showing a 10.1% increase on last year and 4.4% on the previous week.
There was no special promotion in Churchillt Square to explain the difference but centre director, Sam Eastwood commented, “Churchill Square’s recession resilience is supported through a positive year on year footfall performance of 6.97%. The month of February was up 3.495% on last year despite a snowfall in the first week, which saw many units close because staff couldn't get into the city.”
Brighton has being holding out well so far but could this be the beginning of a tough trading period? Or is it just a little glitch that will be ironed out by next week?
Watch this space.
Click here to download Footfall for week beginning 2 March 2009
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