January was another disappointing month for London retailers as shoppers steered clear of the high street.
A new report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed footfall across the capital declined by 1.7 per cent at the start of the month. This has widened from a fall of 1.4 per cent recorded in December.
With post-Christmas sales failing to entice shoppers to spend, footfall was down across the whole of the UK but at a less slower rate than the month before.
This morning’s developments are the latest to highlight the prolonged suffering of the sector amid a period of changing shopping habits and a clamp down on spending.
UK retail sales plummeted 3.2 per cent in December, well below analyst expectations and the largest monthly fall since January 2021 when coronavirus restrictions pushed down sales, a reading by the ONS said last month.
Spectators have also watched the demise of a number of high profile retailers, such as Superdry who on Monday confirmed it was looking at closing stores to retain cash amid a downturn.
Issues such as the Tourist Tax have also impacted fashion stores catering to high class buyers.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:“Footfall remained on a downward trajectory in January, albeit at a slower rate than in December.
“Many consumers appear particularly bargain-focused, with the first half of the month boosted by the January sales. However, the latter part of January saw fewer shoppers out as stormy weather led to a bigger footfall decline in shopping centres and high streets.”
She added: “Retail plays a vital part in every community across the country – providing the goods that we need, as well as local jobs and investment.
“As we move towards a higher skilled, digitally transformed, net zero future, there is a need for more investment in every part of the UK.”