© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd
Retailers are bracing for more pain after one of the worst declines in visits to shopping hubs in seven years, just as another wave of chains draw up plans to cut store numbers or shut up shop altogether.
In October, footfall fell 3.2 per cent compared to the same month a year ago, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.
It marked the largest October drop for seven years, with cold and windy weather to blame. Crowded streets of city centre, Birmingham UK
High streets suffered the most, with footfall down 4.9 per cent, compared with the three-month average decline of 2.8 per cent.
High streets worst-hit
Retail parks, which have tended to hold up better than other shopping locations, also suffered a fall in visitors of 0.5 per cent - the first drop for five months.
Shopping centre footfall was down 2.4 per cent in October. Shoppers carry their purchases in orange plastic Sainsbury's supermarket store shopping bags as they walk in London on November 7, 2019. - Sainsbury's plunged into a net loss in the first half on costly store closures, the British supermarket said Thursday -- and after it recently failed to merge with Walmart-owned Asda. Sainsbury's chalked up a loss after tax of £38 million ($49 million, 44 million euros) in the 28 weeks to September 21, the retailer said in a trading update. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "High streets were hit hardest in October, with the wet and wintery weather putting off many consumers from venturing out to the shops.
"Weak consumer demand and Brexit uncertainty have both impacted sales in recent months and this could be further affected by the imminent election campaigning. Nonetheless, retailers will be hoping for footfall to pick up as they enter the all-important Golden Quarter."
Gallery: Stores that opened for business the year you were born (Lovemoney)
She also called on the next government to help the industry and, in particular, introduce an overhaul to the business rates system.
More woes for retail
The data was released after a horrendous week for the high street, with two well-known retailers going into administration. A busy high street scene with a couple holding hands and walking past fashion shops
The collapse of Mothercare on Tuesday, which is expected to spell 2,800 job losses, was quickly followed by the pre-pack administration of Mamas & Papas and the immediate loss of 73 jobs on Friday.
Mothercare stores are still trading but will cease operations in the UK altogether in the coming weeks. Meanwhile Mamas & Papas has closed six of its 27 branches and warned another 54 jobs could be at risk in the head office.
Over the weekend, it also emerged that Clintons Cards is plotting at least 66 store closures and will ask for rent cuts on hundreds more after meeting with landlords on Friday.