Retail footfall continued to fall in May despite the hot weather, but showed a marked improvement from the footfall collapse of March and April.
The BRC – Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor found overall footfall was down 0.4% in the four weeks to 26 May having cratered by 6% in March and 3.3% in April.
Retail parks saw growth of 0.5% and the high street was up 0.6%, but shopping centres continued to see significant year on year declines, posting a fall of 2.9% in May.
Only three regions saw footfall grow in May: North & Yorkshire (0.7 per cent), Northern Ireland (0.5 per cent) and Wales (0.6 per cent).
The biggest footfall decline was in Greater London, which was down 1.5%. Only three regions saw footfall grow in May: North & Yorkshire, up 0.7%, Northern Ireland, up 0.5%, and Wales, up 0.6%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “May’s better weather resulted in a marginal improvement in footfall across the nation’s high street and out-of-town shopping areas, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the long term trend of declining visits to physical stores.
“Consumer behaviour is changing and retailers are continuing to adapt their stores to their customers’ requirements by investing in the integration of their online and bricks and mortar businesses, increasingly allowing customers to pick up in stores items purchased online.”
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, warned: “It would be highly premature to regard the improvement in UK footfall to -0.4% in May from a drop of -3.3% in April as any form of bounce back.
“Instead at least in part it is likely to be a consequence of shopping trips being deferred from April - when the weather continued to be cold and wet - into May. It might also be regarded as a reflection of consumer demand resulting from the two May bank holidays which anchored the month at both ends. In reality, however, footfall actually declined in both bank holiday weeks, reflecting a long term trend identified by Springboard of the lessening in importance of public holidays for retail.
Potato producer Produce Investments (PIL) has appointed Billy Keane as a non-executive director with immediate effect.
Keane is currently a director of Grahams The Family Dairy, and of the a2 Milk Company. Prior to this he was chairman of Dairy UK, the trade association of the UK dairy industry.
He served as group MD of Robert Wiseman Dairies plc, the former FTSE 250 listed milk processor, until its acquisition by Muller Group for £300m in 2012. Prior to this he was group finance director for 16 years, where he oversaw the company’s successful listing on the London Stock Exchange.
Produce Investments chairman Barrie Clapham commented: “I am delighted that Billy will be joining our Board. He was part of the team that revolutionised the UK milk market through a £500m capital investment programme.
“The knowledge and sector experience that he brings to our business will be extremely beneficial as we move forward with the next phase of our development. We look forward to working with Billy over the months and years ahead.”
On the markets this morning, the FTSE has made a positive start to the week, rising 0.5% to 7,718.4pts so far despite the row between US President Donald Trump and the rest of the G7 nations following their summit.
Ocado (OCDO) has surged through the 1,000p barrier this morning, to jump 6.7% to 1066.75 - a new all-time high for the stock.
This week in the City
The wine retailer, which has undergone a transformation programme since its merger with Naked Wines, will issue its full year results on Thursday morning.
Also on Thursday, Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons (PZC) will release a full-year trading update.
On Friday, Tesco (TSCO) is scheduled to update the market on its first quarter trading figures ahead of its AGM later that morning.
Also on Friday, British American Tobacco (BATS) is scheduled to update the market on its first half trading before issuing its full interim results next month.
Later this morning is the AGM of Coca-Cola HBC (CCH), while Morrisons (MRW) and Tesco (TSCO) have their annual general meetings on Thursday and Friday respectively. Almost half of Morrisons shareholders rebelled against pay plans last year, but no such issues are predicted at this year’s meeting.
Tomorrow sees the start of the three day Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference being held in Paris, which will see presentations from many of the world’s biggest fmcg players.
In economic news, an update on UK manufacturing output is scheduled for release later this morning. Wednesday brings the official UK inflation figures and the Consumer Price Index for May, while the monthly ONS retail sales figures are out on Thursday.