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Shoppers avoid declining high street and take car to out-of-town malls

The British Retail Consortium and Springboard have released data showing shoppers continued to abandon high streets and shopping centres last month, with footfall down 1.6% and 2.6% respectively. However, trips to out-of-town locations increased by 1.5% compared with the same time a year ago. The BRC said the rise was a sign of 'strong' consumer confidence, as it suggested that more shoppers were happy to spend more heavily on big-ticket items, such as furniture. Out-of-town malls also benefitted from more click-and-collect customers, with customers seemingly attracted by an abundance of free parking spaces. Regional variations in the figures showed London and the East experienced a 1% increase in footfall, which contrasted with a 4.6% drop in Wales and a 3% fall in Scotland, its first decline since June last year. Online sales of non-food products rose 11.7% last month as people searched for bargains in the sales. It was also revealed that one in ten shops are empty in town centres, a figure that has remained steady for the last couple of years, but Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle is wary that the number could increase as a large number of retail leases are due to expire over 2014.

 

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