Footfall is Falling

Footfall is a widespread challenge being discussed all over the shopping centre and retail industry; with technology and online shopping rising; more centres being built and tenants becoming increasingly more selective on where they rent, it isn’t surprising footfall is a concern.

The figures in Cushman and Wakefield’s H2 2016 UK shopping centre development report showed how footfall is declining across the high street and shopping centre market, indicating a change in trends from fewer but higher spending visits – it is promising to see consumer spend is still strong, however with footfall decreasing there is a clear challenge ahead.

In a recent Drapers article, they reported from Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard: “Shopping centres in particular have a challenge ahead in 2017. Having experienced a decline in footfall during 2016, these destinations need to up their game to provide additional reasons to draw shoppers away from their devices with an offer that goes beyond retail.” Recent research conducted by Foundation Recruitment revealed that shopping centre management professionals are already alive to this challenge, as many stated that going into 2017 driving footfall is going to be a key priority.

In response to the shrinking footfall, a new trade body for is set to launch in January 2017 to focus on footfall traffic. This association will improve the visibility of footfall in retail stores, shopping malls and other destinations to measure and manage trends to be used for strategies to drive footfall higher.

Footfall ultimately keeps a shopping centre in business, it increase sales; creates ambience; attracts stronger tenants; decreases vacancy rates; attracts commercialisation tenants; increase rental value and generally increases the value of the asset.

Shopping Centres and retailers need to strategise to ensure they are capitalising on their footfall and doing everything they can to drive more consumers to their stores/centres through marketing campaigns; events; strong external relationships with stakeholders; social media & brand awareness initiatives; quality and varied tenant mix including F&B and leisure offerings… the list goes on.

Creating and implementing innovative strategies to entice consumers to visit centres rather than shop online is crucial. We saw over the Christmas period unique offerings including mobile apps, games and new commercialisation tenants – going into 2017, with the challenge of low footfall, shopping centres and retailers need to be working together to try and engage with consumers, developing new initiatives to drive footfall momentum!

The challenge of footfall is also an exciting opportunity for new experiential initiatives to be introduced – I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come!

Kat Whitehead, Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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