The latest NIRC Springboard Footfall And Vacancies Monitor report for April details a double blow for retail in the North, as retail vacancies rose and footfall declined.
The report states that retail vacancies have increased in recent months and the figure now stands at 16.1%, up 1.4% compared to January. Elsewhere, footfall has also taken a hit, declining by 5.9% when compared to the same period last year.
Aodhán Connolly, Director, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium said; "These results are a stark reminder of the volatility in the retail market and on our high streets. With a dip in footfall of 5.9% and one in six of our shops lying empty, these results are amongst the worst performances across the regions and nations of the UK."
Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, added, "April’s footfall figures certainly echo the high street decline seen over recent months, which can be attributable to the poor weather for this time of year, but with digital sales and retail parks also slowing down it signifies something more at play.
"The rise in unemployment and economic uncertainty in this pre-EU referendum period has undoubtedly adversely impacted consumer activity."
She added that footfall in Northern Ireland is known for being volatile, something that is is undoubtedly a key factor in the persistently high vacancy rate in the region.
"This highlights the need for retail destinations to broaden their offer to embrace new and exciting retail formats that drive activity, but also to have an offer that captures the increasing consumer demand for hospitality and food and beverage," she said.
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan