Springboard’s October monthly footfall monitor reveals that, despite the cost-of-living crisis, the gap in footfall compared with 2019 narrowed in October to -9.8% from -12.6% in September and -13.2% in August.
Retail was boosted by a strong performance over the school half term. But Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle has cautioned this could a short-lived boost in confidence for retailers, as rising energy bills and continued political instability are likely to dampen consumer confidence during winter.
She said: “The last week of October is pitched as the key week of the month as schools are on their half term break. Footfall always increases in this week and this year was no exception, with a rise of +8% from the week before: a significant uplift from the previous three weeks when the only increase was +0.8% in the second week. However, the increase in the half term week this year was less than the rise of +11.1% in the same week in 2021, an indicator of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers’ budgets and therefore on their propensity to spend.
“Indeed, we know from recently released ONS spending data that consumers have cut back on spending, and Springboard’s town centre sales tracker recorded a rise in spending in bricks-and-mortar stores of just +1.8% in October, which is significantly below the current rate of inflation of 10.1%, indicating that consumers are buying fewer products.
“October was a nightmare month for British politics, and the uncertainty clearly had huge implications for consumer confidence, which is now at an all-time low. Whilst it appears that some political stability has been regained, the Autumn statement on November 17 and the soundings about impending tax rises and spending cuts, combined with rumours about energy blackouts over the winter, will undoubtedly suppress consumer confidence and therefore footfall further.”
Springboard provides insights on bricks-and-mortar retail activity, tracking and forecasting footfall and delivering performance metrics across all key retail destination types. It records more than 70 million footfall counts per week at 4,500 counting points across 480 different shopping sites in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.