The first quarter has been harsh on the retail sector within the UK, especially for Brick-and-mortar sales. A mixture of harsh weather conditions and ongoing pressure on spending have shrunk the rate of in-store sales.
Overall, there’s been a sharp fall of over 3.3% according to the British Retail Consortium with further declines this first-quarter. Diane Wehrle of the organisation Springboard has stated that the performance indicates the worst month of the year.
“Not since the depths of the recession in 2009 has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree… Even then the drop was less severe at minus 3.8%.”
Footfall sales in ‘Unprecedented’ decline
Across 2017, over 5,855 stores have undergone closure as property rents have increased alongside falling retail traffic. The challenges stores feel are increases in rents forcing some to face the harsh reality of diminishing in-store returns.
In stark contrast, the continued slowdown in wages and boom from internet sales demonstrate a transforming market. As consumers seek out the most competitive deal from stores online.
Ms Wehrle of Springboard shows this transformation in consumer spending habits, with interests towards leisure, not retail spending.
“The parlous state of retail trading is highlighted by the fact that footfall post-5pm recovered in the last two weeks of the month, rising by 5.9%, whilst daytime footfall dropped by 0.1%.
“So it is clear that retail trading is doubly challenged by a thrifty consumer, in concert with a continuing predisposition towards leisure rather than retail spend.”