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Total UK footfall decreased by 2.8% in January, according to the latest data from the BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor.

Although footfall was down again to start the year, it represented a slower rate of decline than the 5% drop seen in December.

High street footfall decreased by 2.3% in January compared to a 4.2% drop in December.

Retail Parks footfall decreased by 1.8% in January, up from –4.8% in December.

Shopping Centre footfall decreased by 5% in January having dropped 7.4% in December.

All UK nations saw a fall in footfall year on year. England saw the smallest annual drop in footfall at 2.6%. Scotland was down 2.7%, Wales by 4.5% and Northern Ireland by 6.8%.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said: “Footfall remained on a downward trajectory in January, albeit at a slower rate than in December. Many consumers appear particularly bargain-focused, with the first half of the month boosted by the January sales. However, the latter part of January saw fewer shoppers out as stormy weather led to a bigger footfall decline in shopping centres and high streets.

“Retail plays a vital part in every community across the country – providing the goods that we need, as well as local jobs and investment. As we move towards a higher skilled, digitally transformed, net zero future, there is a need for more investment in every part of the UK. It is vital the next government finds ways to unlock the full potential of the retail industry, increasing the investment needed to boost local and national economic growth.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “With disruption from two named storms in January dampening footfall on the High Street, retailers also faced tempestuous trading conditions caused by the ongoing cost of living spending squeeze and stubbornly sticky inflation.

“Despite January’s shopper traffic levels remaining down, this was an improved year-on-year performance when compared to December, which – while marginal – may signal the beginning of a bounce back, giving retailers cause for cautious optimism for a recovery. Many will be hoping as inflation continues to slow, consumer confidence will start to rise enough to loosen the squeeze on incomes to the point that this begins to materially translate into both footfall and sales.”

Morning update

Listed drinks mixers group East Imperial has announced that its finance director, Andrew Robertson, will leave the company on 16 February 2024.

Graham Duncan has joined East Imperial as non-board chief financial officer on a part-time basis, and Ciali de Jager has been appointed as financial controller.

Duncan is a UK-based accountant with extensive capital markets and financial reporting experience, as both an adviser and a director and chairman of UK-listed companies.

Tony Burt, Chairman and CEO, commented: “We wish Andrew well in his new pursuits, and we are delighted to welcome Graham and Ciali, who will create a solid international team that reflects our corporate structure and global business plan.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.5% at 7,662.2pts so far.

Early risers include THG, up 3.6% to 66.2p, Glanbia, up 3.6% to €16.88 and Sainsbury’s, up 2.3% to 273.3p.

Fallers include Naked Wines, down 2.8% to 65.6p, Virgin Wines, down 2.5% to 37p and PZ Cussons, down 1.3% to 128.5p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.1% at 7,622.2pts yesterday.

The day’s risers included Naked Wines, up 3.5% to 67.5p, Glanbia, up 2.5% to €16.30, Wynnstay, up 2.2% to 350p, Cranswick, up 2.2% to 4,112p, Diageo, up 1.6% to 2,905p and WH Smith, up 1.5% to 1,229p.

Fallers included Pets at Home, down 6% to 263.4p after its sales update this week, PayPoint, down 5.8% to 517p, Ocado, down 5.6% to 516.2p, THG, down 3.7% to 63.9p, Premier Foods, down 2.8% to 138.2p and PZ Cussons, down 2.7% to 130.2p.