According to the latest figures, Northern Ireland shoppers do not go out on the streets as much as their counterparts in Britain. In May, footfalls in Northern Ireland were 3% lower, a figure that is much higher than that of 0.7% in the UK.
The hardest hit regions are those of the west, followed by the east, and finally the north. This is according to a recent report from the British Retail Consortium. Following a 6.4 drop in April, this rate will soon decline.
The director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Aodhan Connolly, said that in a month there were several regions that showed an improved growth. He however said that it was disheartening that Northern Ireland is at the bottom of the list, and falling behind the UK, which has 0.7%.
Diane Wehrle, the retail insights director at Springboard, said that there was a better showing, as opposed to the steep drop in numbers during the month of April. She expects the numbers to increase given the warmer conditions and consumer confidence.
She goes on to say that it was proving to be very volatile, especially in high streets, which recorded a fall in 7% in March, and a rise of 3.4% in April, which was followed by a drop of 1% in May. It has been recorded that shopping centres experienced a larger fall in May than in April, with the figure coming to 1.7%. The poor performance is due to two keys trends in the high streets.
In the first instance, there is lower footfall in regional cities when compared to smaller towns, and this shows that people prefer to shop in the larger towns. In the second instance, there is increased footfall during the evening as people opt not to shop during the day.