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BRC says shoppers numbers up in February

Footfall in February was 0.8% higher than a year ago, an improvement on the 4.6% decline in January.

These figures support the recent uplift in retail sales reported by the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, where total sales growth reached a three year high.

Footfall improved on high streets with a 2.7% increase compared with a year earlier, the strongest growth since December 2011. Footfall in shopping centres (-1.6%) and out-of-town (-1.5%) locations fell; however, this is a significant improvement on January’s figures.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: "This is a respectable result, which tallies with the signs of gradual improvement shown in our February sales figures. Even though overall footfall is only marginally up on last year, the signs are that conversion rates were good. New ranges gave shoppers a spring in their step and end-of-season promotions also proved popular.

"Compared against the widespread regional variations seen in January, it's really encouraging to see improvements in footfall across the board. However, the link between the number of shops and shoppers is plain to see; the lowest footfall was in the North and Yorkshire, which has England's highest vacancy rate.

"February 2013 was generally milder than the snow-hit month we saw the previous year, which is a surefire factor behind High Streets posting their best result since December 2011. This is definitely the standout story for February, but it's only the third time in twelve months that high street footfall rates have edged over zero. Retailers will be hoping that Wednesday's Budget delivers concrete measures to build on this boost and put more money in people's pockets."

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