Footfall improves but more support needed – says NIRC
NIRC-SENSORMATIC IQ footfall Monitor shows some improvement in August.
According to NIRC-Sensormatic IQ data Northern Ireland footfall decreased by 16.6% in August (Yo2Y), a 3.3 percentage point increase from July. This is above the UK average decline of 18.0% (Yo2Y).
Shopping Centre footfall declined by 15.5% in August (Yo2Y) in Northern Ireland, down from -15.3% in July.
In August, footfall in Belfast decreased by 19.1% (Yo2Y), a 1.7 percentage point increase from July.
Aodhán Connolly, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium Director, said:
“Shopper footfall in Northern Ireland continued to improve in a steady if unspectacular way in August. That said, footfall is still languishing almost 17% down on pre-pandemic levels with retail destinations and especially towns and city centres still feeling the pinch from a lack of return to office working.
“The sustained weakness in shopper footfall is disconcerting as the hourglass counts down towards what is traditionally retail’s golden quarter prior to Christmas. This is when many retailers generate the revenues required to tide them through the leaner early months in the new year. Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers back and we look forward to the role out of the high street stimulus card this month. However, policy makers should consider what more they could do to help galvanise a growth in consumer confidence and entice shoppers back. More support will be needed to assure the recovery of our high streets”
Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, said:
“Bolstered by staycationer shopper traffic and the Back To School boost, August saw footfall recovering to its highest point compared to pre-pandemic levels so far this year. In every UK city we track – including larger cities which have sorely felt the impact of slow returning commuter trade in recent months – showed improved shopper counts, as vaccine confidence won out against the fears and spread of the Delta variant.”
“Sustaining this recovery into the Autumn – and as retailers head towards the critical Golden Quarter of peak trading – is no longer just reliant on maintaining consumer confidence. Getting stock on shelves has always been a given retail imperative. But amidst the ongoing disruption to stock availability, exacerbated by both Brexit and covid-19, shoring up supply chains to meet elevated levels of demand, and offering alternative delivery formats like click and collect to ease the burden on the digital fulfilment network, will become even more mission critical if recovery is set to continue.”
*2020 was a turbulent year in which much of retail bounced between being open and closed, impacting footfall significantly. To make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all 2021 figures are compared with 2019 (pre-pandemic). This means our 2021 figures are now year-on-two-years (Yo2Y), rather than year-on-year (YoY).
MONTHLY TOTAL NORTHERN IRELAND RETAIL FOOTFALL (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
TOTAL FOOTFALL BY REGION (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
|GROWTH RANK||REGION||% GROWTH Yo2Y|
|1||North West England||-10.8%|
|3||East of England||-13.8%|
|4||Yorkshire and the Humber||-13.8%|
|5||South West England||-13.9%|
|6||South East England||-16.1%|
|8||North East England||-16.2%|
TOTAL FOOTFALL BY CITY (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
|GROWTH RANK||CITY||% GROWTH Yo2Y|