UK retail sales on the High Street have wobbled in November 2018. It’s the worst year since the terrible recession 9 years ago. But what is the reason? Surely we should be seeing a strong recovery. It is easy to squarely blame Amazon or online retail in general, but aren’t the problems being experienced on the High Street rather more complex? Amazon isn’t the only enemy.
It seems like retail is increasingly heading from the High Street to online as real life shops increasingly suffer a decline in footfall and sales. The latest retail figures certainly seem to suggest that the internet is winning. And that might not be a good thing. Black Friday, it is noted, doesn’t trickle down to physical outlets.
The retail numbers in November 2018 have been particularly poor. And it seems fair to suggest that Brexit may also be playing a part. It seems probable that we could be edging towards a period where investment quite simply isn’t happening. Uncertainty may vary well be meaning that inward investment doesn’t come though as we would hope it might in retail.
The 3.2% drop in footfall in November is indisputable evidence that Black Friday delivers no tangible benefit to bricks and mortar stores. Whilst online shopping was inevitably more prevalent than in other months, the vast majority of spending still remained in-store and this is what Black Friday impacts adversely.
Since 2013, when Black Friday became established as a key trading day, footfall has decreased in every year bar one and the only increase in 2017 was just 0.2%. This year, amidst all of the other challenges facing retail, the drop in footfall of 3.2% in November was the largest of any November since Springboard started publishing footfall data in 2009.
– Diane Wehrle, director, Springboard insights
Breaking down the footfall figures between retail location types, the high street suffered a decline of 3.8% while retail park footfall declined by 1.4%. This apparently marks four months of consecutive weakening numbers for UK retail and the largest decline since April when it fell by 4%. Shopping centre footfall declined by 3.8%, which was a sharper decline relative to the October drop of 3.3%.