Finance

Welsh shopper numbers saw shallowest decline of any UK nation but ‘little cause for celebration’


Welsh shoppers numbers decreased by 16.2% in September compared with the same month in 2019.

This is above the UK average decline of 16.8% (Yo2Y) and Wales saw the shallowest decline in footfall of all the UK nations.

But it still means shopper numbers are well down on pre-pandemic figures, although they were 0.3% up on August.

Shopping centres have been the worst hit with a 60% cut in footfall compared to 2019.

Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said: “There was little cause for celebration for Welsh retailers as shopper numbers continue to languish despite a very minor improvement on August’s figures. Overall footfall remains down by over 16 per cent compared to two years ago, at a time when our high streets and city centres are in desperate need of a positive end to what’s been a dire year.

“We are now entering the crucial golden quarter of shopping in the lead up to Christmas, when many stores generate the revenues required to tide them through the leaner months early in the new year.

“Retailers will continue to focus efforts on providing a welcome and safe shopping experience, providing a fantastic range of products with many exciting offers.

“But more energy is needed from all those that have a role to play in revitalising our town centres.

“Previous suggested measures such temporary free parking in city centres, a government advertising campaign to encourage people back to city centres, or a high street voucher scheme like Northern Ireland has introduced this week, could all have a role this Christmas.

“However, longer term we need to structural reform and a commitment to lowering the burden of the biggest barrier to investment, the outdated business rates system.”

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