Monitor footfall in high streets so as to differentiate between local trends and wider regional and national trends to which all high streets are subject.
The changes occurring in retailing are ricocheting onto high streets which, since Springboard first launched its national High Street Index in 2009, have recorded downward movements in footfall. Simply put, there is now far less of a necessity for shoppers to visit high streets and town centres, with many of the functional visits transferring online, and many leisure trips being undertaken in out of town retail destinations. At the same time, the explosion of the hospitality sector is offering town centres new opportunities. By being open “24 hours” a day, and often a with diverse structural composition and ownership structure, new entrants – particularly in food and beverage – are occupying space in town centres for the first time and supporting footfall volumes.
For a high street, footfall benchmarks deliver the objective and consistent measure of the success of this type of retail destination and the impact that the new reality is having. Springboard’s substantial coverage of high streets by type and geography, means that it is able to provide robust benchmarks for individual regions/nations but also different types of town centre, for example historic and coastal towns and regional cities. Benchmarking data is also available for different “day parts” – day time hours, early evening and night time – so that a town centre is able to better pinpoint specific areas of vulnerability and opportunities for enhancement of performance.
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