Retail footfall slumped in June as poor weather and Brexit uncertainty continued to bash the struggling UK high streets.
Total footfall declined 2.9% in the five weeks to June 29, according to figures from the BRC-Springboard footfall and vacancies monitor.
The latest drop marks a significant fall from June 2018, when footfall had dipped 0.9%.
Overall shopper numbers are on a declining trend, with footfall down 2.4% on a three-month basis, while the six and 12-month averages showed reductions of 1.3% and 1.7% respectively.
“The drop in footfall in June of 2.9% is disappointing, it was much more severe than the 0.9% drop in June last year and takes the rolling three month average to negative 2.4% versus negative 1.5% in 2018,” Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said.
“However, given the exceptional and ongoing disruptive political and economic period we are facing coupled with unprecedented structural changes in the retail sector, we might actually expect consumer activity to have taken an even greater hit.”
High street footfall experienced the sharpest decline, down 4.5% in June against a 0.1% rise last year.
Shopping centre footfall fell 2.4%, a narrower drop compared to the 3.4% fall in 2018.
Meanwhile, retail parks managed to “buck the trend” with footfall rising 0.1% in June 2019 following a 0.4% drop the same month a year ago.
British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson commented: “Poor footfall this June led to a significant fall in the sales figures for the month. High streets were worst hit by the relatively poor June weather, with shopping centres also performing badly, however, retail parks managed to buck the trend.
“Last year’s World Cup and glorious sunshine set a high bar, which 2019’s slow consumer spending and Brexit uncertainty failed to live up to.”
If they aim to reverse the declining trend, high streets and shopping centres should “invest in improving their customer experience”, Dickinson added.
The company said Keeling has a decade’s experience of working within a variety of listed and private businesses in senior finance, business improvement, integration and company secretarial roles. She will assume her new responsibilities in addition to her current role with immediate effect.
CEO Hugh Cawley said: “We are delighted that Maribeth has agreed to assume the role of Group CFO and we look forward to working with her to continue the improvement in performance of Real Good Food.”
In wider retail, the major news this morning is that Sports Direct (SPD) has announced it will delay the publication of its annual results scheduled for Thursday due to “complexities of the integration” of House of Fraser business and “current uncertainty as to the future trading performance” of the department store chain.
On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has opened the week up 0.1% or 5pts to 7,511pts.
Sports Direct has dropped 10% to 236.9p after the delay of its results.
This week in the City
Another quiet week looks in store as we enter the City’s summer lull.
The most notable entry in the diary this week is Premier Foods’ (PFD) first quarter sales update and the company’s annual general meeting, both on Wednesday. A number of Premier shareholders are reported to be ready to vote against the exit package given to former CEO Gavin Darby at the AGM.
Also on Wednesday, Vimto producer Nichols (NICL) will issue its interim earnings, having reformulated its portfolio to take advantage of the start of last year’s soft drinks levy in the UK, while there is also scheduled to be a trading update from Hotel Chocolat (HOTC).
Globally, US consumer giant Johnson & Johnson will issue its half year results tomorrow, while tobacco giant Philip Morris announces its interim earnings on Thursday and French spirits group Remy Cointreau releases its first quarter sales figures on the same day.
In economic news the monthly UK inflation figures are released on Wednesday morning, while the Office of National Statistics’ monthly retail sales figures are released on Thursday.