Latest BRC data points to struggling High Street stores

High Street stores struggled in August according data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, with footfall down 2.8% on the previous year.


The struggle to attract shoppers paints a worrying picture for town centre stores, although out-of-town locations did report a rise in footfall.


The BRC reported that overall footfall for August decreased 1.1% annually while the figures also dropped from previous months.


Footfall will ultimately have an impact on consumer spending but retail sales were boosted by a reliance on the online environment in August.


Sales via the internet provided a fall-back for a lot of stores and highlights the need for a greater number of smaller retail businesses to enter the online market place.


Failing to do so could place the companies concerned under considerable financial pressures and could result in them considering corporate recovery options.


In instances where a financial situation is particularly grave, acting quickly can mean that any insolvency measures can be more rewarding for shareholders, bosses and staff.


While the overall picture for the UK is one of footfall decreases, some areas did see increases in overall footfall, including the South East, East Midlands and Scotland, although they were the only regions to do so.


Sales remain strong in some locations despite decreasing footfall, suggesting customers are more purposeful when it comes to their shopping antics.


The recovering economy could also help to boost sales in the coming months, as increasing optimism could mean people are encouraged to spend.


The need to innovate and change habits for many retailers though remains of vital importance, especially as the way people shop seems to be fundamentally changing.


An increasing reliance on online methods and on easily accessible locations suggests that many smaller retail stores could be facing an uncertain future.


Despite this however, they will remain relatively safe for as long as consumer spending remains high.


By Phil Smith


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