Shoppers avoid high street amid wet and stormy weather


British shops missed out on a sunshine boost in July as shoppers avoided the high street during heavy storms and rain.

The number of shoppers slipped by 1.1pc in July, according to numbers by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard. The decline was higher than the 0.4pc average this year. The high street was affected the most, with a 2.1pc decline. Shopping centres experienced a 1.3pc fall, the fourth consecutive month of declines.

The East Midlands was hit the worst with high street footfall falling by 4.7pc.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Most shopping destinations saw a decline in footfall in July compared with the previous year. Even high streets, which have seen fairly stable growth over recent months, reported a decline.”

She additionally cautioned that the footfall “translated into weak sales performance for stores in non-food particularly, which fell further into negative territory as consumers reined back spending on non-essential items.”

July’s income tracker from Asda showed that despite inflation trimming down to 2.6pc on lower fuel prices, spending power of consumer has slumped for families in 75pc of UK regions with an average £198 of disposable income.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “July’s results might well mark a seachange in consumers’ willingness to spend, as it was the first time since January that footfall dropped during both retail trading hours and into the evening.”