kb-network    Statistics 18 Jan 2018
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BRC research states consumers are ‘researching products online rather than heading out to stores’

The British Retail Consortium has released the statistics for the year-on-year changes to footfall for last year. The numbers have sparked conversation about the importance of crafting positive branded websites for the KBB sector, alongside questioning how to entice consumers back into brick and mortar showrooms and stores.

BRC states that UK retail footfall was down -1.9% for the Christmas period (Oct-Dec 17th) and down -3.5% for the year in total. Of that drop, shopping centres experienced a large -3.8% reduction in footfall, whereas retail parks proved more robust to the change, only dropping by -0.6%. This is the largest decline measured by Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor since March 2013.

According to BRC CEO Helen Dickinson, “The sharp drop in footfall this December, while sales grew overall, underlines how shopping is being transformed by the shift to online.” She added, “In the past, shoppers would have exclusively visited physical stores to ensure stockings were filled for Christmas. Improved delivery options by both purely digital retailers and those with stores and an online offer mean many purchases of last-minute gifts are moving online.”

She suggested that retails parks fared well due to “the draw and convenience of parking, easy click-and-collect, and leisure facilities”.

Wehrle added that shops are “losing footfall more quickly than wider retail locations and so have a declining customer base. Moving forward into 2018, it is apparent that retailers need to focus on maximising conversion via the core deliverable of the best product and customer service with an improved in-store experience, whilst holding their nerve and resisting discounting too early and so protecting margin.”

British Retail Consortium | brc.org.uk