Update: September 2008 Experian Retail Footfall Index

News release

Bruno Rost
Head of PR, Business Strategies
+44 (0)115 96 85009 Tel
bruno.rost@uk.experian.com Email

Update: September 2008 Experian Retail Footfall Index

  • Experian RFI year-on-year change (September 2007 – September 2008): 0.5 %
  • Experian RFI month-on-month change (August 2008 – September 2008): -2.1 %
  • Visits out of town retail centres year-on-year change (September 2008 – September 2008): -3.1 %


Nottingham, UK, 2 October 2008 - Despite the current financial climate, September saw an unexpected year-on-year rise in shopper numbers, according to the latest Experian Retail FootFall Index.  At the same time, the year-on-year out-of-town destination index fell by 3.1%, suggesting that shopping habits are changing as consumers chose to shop more locally as a result of high petrol prices. Furthermore, interest in DIY activity is soaring as people look to concentrate on making the most of what they already have. 

Looking at the footfall analysis by region, the areas most affected include Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands, the North East, Scotland, South Wales, the West and the Eastern regions.  Conversely, shopping figures in the North West, South East, London and East Midlands, remained unusually high (see regional tables). 

“Overall footfall trends appear to be mirroring the state of the economy,” explains Jonathan de Mello, Director of Retail Consultancy at Experian.  “The main sector to suffer is out-of-town retail warehousing, which has seen a 7.9 % decline versus the same period last year. This is due to falling house prices and demand which has impacted retailers most exposed to this sector.”

Matthew Sherwood, Senior Economist at Experian, continues, “We see the volume of retail sales falling over the next twelve months. It will be early 2010 before volumes start picking up again in any sort of substantial fashion.”

The combination of a stagnant housing market and rising fuel prices have resulted in a significant drop in visits to out-of-town retail parks.  However, although people appear to be making fewer visits, or simply shopping locally, there is evidence of more online interest in DIY and home-wares.

According to data from Hitwise, an Experian company, while visits to property websites have plummeted, UK Internet visits to House and Garden retail websites have increased by 20.5% over the last 12 months.

Robin Goad, Director of Research at Hitwise, comments: “It looks as if people are choosing to improve their homes rather than move. The interesting thing about the growth in House and Garden retailers is that it applies to both DIY retailers, such as B&Q, Screwfix and Homebase, and furniture retailers such as Ikea, Laura Ashley and Wilkinson Plus. These types of retailers have increased their share of Internet visits over the last 12 months.”

Jonathan de Mello concludes: “The high street is becoming increasingly competitive and it is a case of survival of the fittest and biggest.  Food retailers are in a price war, with Tesco launching its Discounter range and Morrisons pushing its price crunch adverts. ASDA is also showing signs of success with its price led strategy.

“Halfords is well placed to take advantage of current trends as people keep cars for longer and are less likely to buy brand new.  Moreover, DIY on-line stores including Screwfix should benefit from people focussing on making the most of what they have already.

“Except for the lucky few, who can play to a value offer or benefit from people trading down in their consumption patterns, life has suddenly got very hard for many retailers. As the economic cycle moves on, those brands that do the right thing now will profit the most in the future.”


Chart indicating Experian National FootFall index September 2008:




Year on year comparison







North West                   




South East                   


East Midlands              


North East                    


S.West & Wales           


West Midlands             


Yorkshire & Humber      



Chart highlighting Experian’s Retail Park Index against UK National Index for the past eight months:



For further information, please contact Annie Woodhead on 020 7608 4664 or expbs@hotwirepr.com