A shopping centre in Bristol which is co-owned by beleaguered property giant Intu saw a rise in footfall in January and February despite UK-wide retail sales decreasing last month.
The Mall at Cribbs Causeway has seen an uplift of more than six per cent year-on-year since the start of the year, according to the shopping centre’s management.
“The Mall at Cribbs Causeway has a loyal customer base and we’re seeing it go from strength to strength,” said centre director Deborah Jones.
“Visitors from afar flock to The Mall to make the most of our seasonal attractions, family events and the great mix of retail and leisure brands on offer at the centre.
“We are looking forward to another great year at The Mall and will continue to work with our occupiers – existing and new – to ensure people from across the area want to keep coming back.”
The news comes as a report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows UK retail sales have decreased 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis since February 2019 when they increased 2.6 per cent from the preceding year.
Over the three months to February, in-store sales of non-food items declined 1.9per cent on a like-for-like basis – better than the 12-month total average decline of 3.1 per cent but positively distorted by the inclusion of Black Friday in December.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Clouds continued to hang over the retail industry in February, as storm Ciara, Dennis and Jorge took their toll on retail sales, particularly in fashion.
“Despite many indicators suggesting a rise in confidence among UK shoppers in recent months, this has failed to translate into higher retail sales.
“However, the end of the month saw a slight rise in spending on food and healthcare as a result of concerns around coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, over the three months to February, food sales increased 0.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which is below the 12-month total average growth of 1.2 per cent.
The “slight recovery” in grocery growth is, in part, to do with the “edging up of prices”, according to Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG.
He said: “In the short-term, any potential supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19 will be felt acutely by grocers, so developments will have to be watched closely.”
Meanwhile, the online market did marginally better with non-food sales increasing by 3.6 per cent in February – down against a growth of 5.4 per cent in February 2019 but above the 12-month average of 2.9 per cent.
Paul added: “February saw the UK get hit by one storm after another, so it’s unsurprising that online fared fractionally better than the high street. Generally though, demand for non-food items remains woefully low.”
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