(PA) October storms led to a sharp decline in footfall on the high street last month as retailers began to see the first signs of a slowdown in consumer spending, figures show.
UK retail footfall was 9.1% down on October last year, with areas of the UK affected by storms Ophelia and Brian particularly badly hit, according to the Ipsos Retail Performance Retail Traffic Index.
Half-term week was especially disappointing for retailers, with the last week of the month resulting in a 12.6% drop in footfall across the UK’s high streets compared with the same time last year.
Steepest fall in eight years
The figures follow the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey, which showed the steepest fall in retail sales volumes in eight-and-a-half years.
Ipsos said “various data sources” were beginning to show a slowdown in consumer spending, with entertainment and leisure pursuits the hardest hit.
Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “We expect to see signs of recovery in November’s figures, as the stark deficit this month is not simply down to the weekend storms but is also symptomatic of shoppers holding back in anticipation of early launches of Black Friday offers.
“Retailers will not welcome this decline in store footfall, but they should treat the size of the downturn as a blip in this year’s figures.