Rise of online shopping continues

Picture: PA Wire
Picture: PA Wire
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The number of shoppers visiting UK stores fell for the second month in a row in May, figures show.

Footfall was 1 per cent lower last month compared with a year ago, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor.

The report said the overall footfall number was dragged down by a 1.5 per cent fall on the high street and 2 per cent fall in shopping centres, reflecting the rise of online shopping.

Only out-of-town centres registered a rise of 1.4 per cent last month, driven by a mixture of family-based leisure amenities, free car parking and their increasing use as click and collect locations.

May’s 1 per cent fall compares with a 0.8 per cent decline in April, measured against a year ago.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “The pace of change in the way we shop shows no sign of slowing. In fact, today’s figures show the rate of decline in shopper numbers on our high streets and in shopping centres has slightly increased.

“Local government, town centre managers and retailers will need to continue to work together to refine their high street offer and give customers practical, positive reasons to return.”

Only three English regions posted rises, with the East coming out on top with 2 per cent, followed by Greater London with a 0.8 per cent rise and the East Midlands recording 0.2 per cent.

The regions of England with the largest falls were the South East with a 2.2 per cent fall, followed by the South West down by 2.1 per cent, with the West Midlands and the North and Yorkshire both falling by 1.7 per cent.

Wales posted a 4.3 per cent fall, with a 1.8 per cent decline in Scotland and a 0.4 per cent drop in Northern Ireland.