Commenting on today’s announcement by the British Retail Consortium, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A one-month drop in footfall is not particularly conclusive and doesn’t necessarily point to a wider trend or problem within hospitality. It would also be unfair to lay the blame for any decline in footfall post-5pm with hospitality, evening or late-night operators.
“Arguably, it could be that customers are being turned off by lacklustre retail offerings and so are burned out earlier in the day. High street businesses are symbiotic and you need a vibrant retail sector to encourage people out onto high streets throughout the day and into the evening. There may also be a move towards neighbourhood or off high street eating and drinking out; waiting until one is closer to home before eating out or grabbing a drink.
“What can be stated with much more confidence is that if we want to see more people spending money on their high streets and doing so longer into the evening, we need a more supportive regulatory environment. Support for hospitality businesses could help sustain neighbourhood shops and high streets more generally. In London, the Mayor has listened to the Night Time Commission’s recommendations and pledged to introduce Night Time Enterprise Zones which should help boost footfall, and crucially spend, on high streets into the evening.”