Retail parks and online shopping lead to high street decline
19 January 2016 - 13:31 by David Aiken
With a four per cent drop in footfall during December, the high street was the worst performing part of the UK’s retail market, according to new figures from Springboard.
Analysts point out that the strong growth of safe shopping online is one of the motivating factors behind this trend, although the study also shows that out of town retail parks were doing well, with a 2.1 per cent growth in visitor numbers in the run-up to Christmas last year.
Overall, there was a 2.2 per cent dip in footfall, year on year, across all parts of the market, with shopping centres being similarly hit by this decline, which has afflicted the already embattled world of high street retail.
Report spokesperson, Diane Wehrle, explained that with a dramatic increase in purchases made via safe shopping online last month, traditional outlets were understandably less able to achieve any kind of growth in footfall.
She became the latest analyst to point to the likes of Black Friday as bringing more people into the fold of e-commerce, while leaving bricks and mortar retailers struggling to attract customers.
In order to break this cycle and ensure long term success, high street retailers must overhaul everything from the convenience of the shopping experience to the quality of the service that customers receive, according to Wehrle.
The idea that retailers must provide greater incentives to get people to leave their smartphones and tablets to one side, get out of the house and visit real world stores is an interesting one, although also something that many companies have attempted and failed in the past.
The fact that retail parks are still seeking growth suggests that out of town shopping locations are working to embrace the online-focused market, with click and collect delivery options encouraging this influx of visitors.