The UK high street saw a 1.1% year-on-year increase in footfall for August, a survey by data analysts Springboard and trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed. This was partly amid a tourist influx and staycations, with over five million people staying back in the UK during their bank holiday weekends.
This increase is in contrast to previous high street footfall numbers, which have been declining in recent years amid growth in both online shopping and out-of-town destinations. The current increase is now not only better than July's 0.3% increase but also more than the three-month average growth of 1%.
The performance across high street helped offset poor performance at UK's shopping centres and retail parks. While the former saw a 1.9% decline in footfall, the latter saw an increase of 0.4% on-year. The overall footfall across all segments managed to be higher in August. It was up 0.1% from the same period last year. BRC and Springboard went on to say that August marked the third month in 2016 that saw an increase in overall footfall.
Helen Dickinson, CEO at BRC, said that the survey showed that people were visiting the high streets for reasons other than shopping. "Driving the overall rise on the high street is an increase in footfall post 5pm, which highlights the growing evening economy based on leisure activities — hospitality, food and beverage trips — and is a result of a markedly improved and expanded offering by shopping destinations," she was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
Diane Wehrle, the insights director at Springboard, attributed the good high street footfall to the night time economy in the country. The UK is said to be seeing an increase in casual dining chains in town centres in order to meet the growing demand to eat out. Also, in London, the Night Tube launched in August is said to have given a boost to this night-time economy.