Anyone who owns a high street business here in Northern Ireland has had it very tough over the last few months and this trend may continue for some while yet as the latest figures show a worrying lack of footfall in our towns and cities.
65% Decline In Footfall In June
Retail footfall in June, in England and Northern Ireland, has shown a 65% decline on the same month last year. This is on top of the 73% year on year decline in May, alarming statistics which go to show there is much work to be done before consumers have the confidence to start shopping on our high streets once again.
The lockdown, which was rightly brought in to halt the spread of Covid-19, seems to have permanently changed some peoples shopping rituals. So instead of browsing the shops on the high street, and in between going for a coffee and something to eat, they are now ordering their products, as well as their food and drink, online from the comfort of their armchairs.
Consumers Need To Support Their Local Businesses
This is not only robbing the high street shops of trade, it is stopping people socialising and communicating with their fellow men and women, which is a rather sad state of affairs. It`s fine that people do some of their shopping online but there does need to be a mix and people do need to support their local businesses if their towns and cities are going to thrive and prosper in the future.
Independent businesses are suffering and also some of the big retailers are finding trading conditions very tough indeed. John Lewis and Boots, for instance, have recently announced the closure of some of their stores along with the cutting of thousands of jobs. The hospitality sector is right on the edge with the likely loss of many more jobs and businesses in the next few weeks and months.
Shopping Centres Are Also Finding It Tough
As well as the high street, shopping centres have shown a sharp decline in footfall over the same period, more than 60% down on the corresponding time last year, and retail parks have not escaped the decline completely with footfall around 32% lower in June. Retails parks have had a bit of an easier time due to the fact that they usually have more spacious buildings where social distancing can be more easily maintained, and consumers can park up, just do one big shop and then go back to the safety of their homes.
Retailers need as much help as they can get right now, so if you have a business please ensure that you have a tight grip on your expenditures and that you are receiving all the grants and funding that are available right now in order for you to ride these difficult trading periods. If you need any help and advice on any of the above please give our accountancy team a call on 028 3752 2909 and we will be glad to assist you.