Not even Black Friday could prevent footfall levels plummeting in November as shoppers shunned high street trips in favour of online browsing last month.
The BRC/Springboard monitor reported a 2.4% year-on-year footfall decline for November - the largest drop since February.
As retail sales for November “remain strong” shoppers were “likely to have researched potential purchases online” or have “chosen to click & collect” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.
However, online shopping was not “solely” the cause of declining footfalls, said Dickinson.
“Whereas once multiple shopping trips for a few items and leisurely browsing were the norm, now increasingly savvy shoppers are streamlining their visits to stores when making non-food purchases.”
Hardest hit by changing shopper habits were high streets and shopping centres - with footfall down 4% and 2.1% on the previous November.
“To encourage shoppers back into bricks and mortar stores” there needs to be “a greater focus on the enhancement of the customer experience, rather than a knee jerk reaction towards discounting which only undermines margins and long term profitability,” said Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle.
The only increasing footfall levels were at out-of-town retailers - which have experienced footfall growth all year. Yet even these shopping destinations experienced a smaller rise than in previous months, with less than 1% footfall growth in November.
It also “needs to be recognised” that retail parks “started from a much lower base” than either high streets or shopping centres, said Wehrle.
However, though the latest figures show an overall sharp drop in footfall since October - when only a 0.8% decline was recorded - footfall is, at least, decreasing at a much lower rate than last November, when a 2.9% footfall decline was recorded.