Springboard: High Street Fall Hiatus For July
What an incredible summer we’re experiencing. It’s amazing how a decent period of vitamin D can lift our spirits and prolong that gorgeous healthy summer glow us Brit’s all long for. The feeling is on the up, except, that is, for the high street. Many would say the current situation is somewhat inevitable, given that the majority would prefer to take maximum advantage of Britain’s uncharacteristically Mediterranean temperatures, albeit this has naturally had a large impact on the decrease in high street shopping habits, where consumers have opted to neglect the shops in favour of relishing outdoor activities.
Figures indicate that footfall in shopping centres have fallen by 3.4 per cent in July, a deeper decrease compared to the 1.3 per cent reduction in July 2017. Recognisably, the climate was expected to largely affect these figures, with additional footfall in retail park locations declining by 0.5 per cent in July in comparison to July 2017, when footfall increased by 1.7 per cent, transpiring as a larger decline than the three-month average of -0.1 per cent.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director decipher, “Inevitably the hot weather in July impacted visits to retail destinations as the attraction of external environments and non-retail experiences lured consumers away from stores.” Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of the British Retail Consortium echoed these sentiments, expressing – “The hot, dry weather in July turned consumers’ attentions to eating, drinking and enjoying the outdoors. That provided a small lift for high streets as shoppers popped out to grab food, drink and fans to keep cool. However, the heat sapped shoppers’ stamina for longer trips with both retail parks and shopping centres seeing footfall sink.”
Of course, our tropical temperatures aren’t the only contributing factor to the reasons behind the high street figures trailing. In recent seasons, the lack of diversity amongst retail stock has been identified, where an amalgamation of high street chains and brands have appeared to compile similar sartorial aesthetics, failing to showcase a sense of individuality and character that in the past has made them unique. Inevitably, this clothing conundrum is only a small sector of the story, the larger being how obviously today, shoppers are discovering that much-needed diversity and individualism arrives courtesy of online platforms.
“Aside from short-term weather impacts, there’s no escaping the fact that retail is changing,” confirms Helen Dickinson. “With fewer people visiting physical stores and fewer purchases being made there, at the same time as costs are going up year on year, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing many retailers reduce their store portfolios.”
Online shopping offers an extensive array of choice and the growth of e-commerce is increasing beyond everybody’s expectations. According to an online U.S report, last year, e-commerce was accountable for approximately $2.3 trillion in sales and is predicted to reach $4.5million in 2021. With that said, independent retailers are increasing, despite their demanding high street competitors, as it has been addressed that consumers are on the search for clothing that is indicative of imbuing something different and niche – factors that independent’s can uniquely provide. Additional attributes to this shopping preference include proposing an experience or personalised service consumers would not otherwise attain from shopping on the high street.
With running the risk of consumers looking somewhat samey and undergoing monotonous shopping practices, independent brands are a smart shopping choice and us at Fashion Capital/Fashion Enter pride ourselves in introducing clients from the Fashion Studio, who display diversity and originality in their unique designs. We have attained much success with start-ups such as Michaela Jedinak and Beanie & Bear and are currently working with an amalgam of other clients, including names such as Stephanie Somerville, Suki Khufu (pictured below), Louisa Paris and many more.
Held at The Fashion Technology Academy, we offer bespoke technical skills and training for individuals to develop, introducing them to the world of fashion and textiles. So if you’re longing to look unique and have a go at constructing your own clothing, come and join us at FTA, where currently, courses at Level 1 and 2 are free if you earn less than £15k! Visit https://fcfta.com for exciting fashion opportunities!
Words by Kate Farley