Shopping centre boost for retail

Crowds at Trinity Leeds
Crowds at Trinity Leeds
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The drop in footfall continues to ease for many retailers in the region, with shopping centres outperforming the UK average in March.

Developments like Trinity Leeds helped boost visitors in the North and Yorkshire last month, with the number of shoppers growing 0.8 per cent compared to March 2014.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard showed the UK average growth for shopping centres was 0.4 per for the month.

Retail parks saw the strongest performance of all locations, climbing 2.8 per cent.

However, a two per cent drop in the volume of people visiting the high street in the North and Yorkshire led to the average numbers being down 0.3 per cent year-on-year.

Nationally, shopper numbers climbed 0.2 per cent, the first increase in footfall for a year, and only the third increase in the last 20 months.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said that the region is improving, albeit at a slower rate than the UK average.

The North and Yorkshire has seen month-on-month improvements since November, when there was a 2.3 per cent drop in the volume of shoppers visiting all locations.

She said: “Negativity is reducing, though it is at a slower rate.

“It is looking fairly positive. There is a move towards positive growth.”

Out-of-town locations saw the largest boost across the UK, with average growth of 3.8 per cent.

Shoppers continue to be attracted to retail parks, as they become more leisure-focused and act as click and collect points for online shoppers, Ms Wehrle said.

Retailers in all locations are also saw an uplift due to the timing of Easter, which fell in March trading, she added.