Bad weather hits retail sales

Britain's plummeting temperatures hit the high street hard with the number of shoppers falling by 3.3% to give the worst January performance in three years.

Rising rates of shop vacancies across Britain

The shop vacancy rates also make for bad reading after a difficult start to the year, which has seen a raft of high-profile retail collapses. Fashion chain Republic was the latest to hit the wall last week, joining other major casualties HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster.

Blockbuster video store in central London
Blockbuster video store in central London Credit: Press Association

The British Retail Consortium said it was encouraging that, while higher than the 10.3% seen last January, the vacancy rate of 10.9% was lower than the 11.3% recorded in October.

But some regions are particularly badly affected by vacant shops, with the rate now standing at 17% in Wales, 17.2% in Northern Ireland and 10.2% in Scotland.

Snow bad for business at retail parks

According to the British Retail Consortium out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres were hit hardest by the cold weather in January:

  • Shopper numbers were down 7.2% on average in out-of-town retail parks
  • Numbers were down 5.2% in shopping centres
  • The North and Yorkshire were the worst-hit regions, with footfall down by 8.3%

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Snow and ice sees January sales figures slip

Britain's plummeting temperatures hit the high street hard with the number of shoppers falling by 3.3% to give the worst January performance in three years.

Boarded up shops and for sale signs in the High Street, Rotherham
Boarded up shops and for sale signs in the High Street, Rotherham Credit: Press Association

The British Retail Consortium says one in 10 shops was empty in the same month, as the vacancy rate rose year-on-year to 10.9%.