Sun-blessed high streets put shopping centres in shade

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The UK high street was busier in June and footfall increased as shoppers were lured by the sales.

The British Retail Consortium said the strong figures are reflected in modest increases in footfall in out-of-town retail, although shopping centres did not perform quite so well.

The BRC said recent retail sales figures showed a strong performance in fashion and footwear and it is likely that shoppers took advantage of the start of the sunshine in June to visit their local high street and buy items for their summer wardrobes.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, said: “As we have seen in recent months, the increase in footfall was not universal across the country.

“BRC figures continue to show regional and national variations. London and the West Midlands saw the best performances in England. In Wales and Scotland, the high street also had a good month.”

In Yorkshire footfall fell by 0.6 per cent.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “The high street once again recorded a better footfall performance than shopping centres, with an annual increase in footfall of 1.4 per cent in June, compared with a decline of 3.0 per cent in shopping centres.

“Over the quarter to the end of June, high streets outperformed both shopping centres and out-of-town locations by a significant margin.”

She added that the more favourable performance of high streets can be put down to the fact that they underwent a greater decline in footfall than managed shopping locations in previous years, and so start from a lower base.

“However, the benefit of high streets being “open for business” 24 hours a day is also key as it is footfall which falls outside usual retail trading hours – rather than between 9am and 5pm – which is improving.”