Drop in November footfall is 'disastrous' for Northern Ireland retail
A 6.6% drop in footfall recorded in November is "disastrous" for NI retail, which needs to see a rise this month to break a seven-month downward trend, a leading industry figure has said.
The Springboard Footfall Monitor and Insights found that footfall was down 6.6% overall in Northern Ireland during November 2018. The high street and retail parks were hit hardest, with footfall down 7%, while shopping centres saw footfall decrease by 5.5%.
Heavy rain deterred shoppers from making trips to retail destinations, according to the report, which also stated that Black Friday fell outside the monthly trading period.
Aodhan Connolly, director of Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said that the "disastrous" drop in footfall means seven consecutive months of footfall declining.
"We have seen that retailers have been widening discounts on offer and doing it earlier to make it easier for consumers in Northern Ireland to spread the cost of Christmas," he added.
"We need to see a rise in footfall and consumer spend. In December retailers do about 12.5% of their trade for the whole year.
"It's really important we have a good December to see us through the lean months of January, February and March."
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Glyn Roberts, Retail NI chief executive, said that retailers are working to ensure high streets are "fun and family-friendly" places for shoppers.
"Any reduction in footfall is always a cause for concern," he said.
"However, what will be a more important indicator is the sales figures for the overall Christmas period for retailers. This Christmas many Retail NI members are working harder than ever to ensure Northern Ireland's high streets and town centres are even more attractive for shoppers.
"Creating that fun experience for shoppers is one of main ways we get them away from online shopping and into our town centres."