shopping centre Image: Scillystuff

The number of people shopping over the August Bank Holiday fell by 4.1% compared to the same weekend last year, according to retail experts.

New figures from Springboard revealed retail destinations on Saturday and Sunday saw a significant increase in footfall post 5pm on both days.

The analysis firm forecast footfall for the Bank Holiday to be 6.5% higher than last year, with the greatest increase of 7.2% on Saturday.

However, the results showed that footfall drop by 1.7% between 5pm and 8pm on Saturday and rose by 7.9% on Sunday. On high streets, footfall rose by 1.8% on Saturday and 8% on Sunday.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard says: “Part of this drop will be due to the rain in some parts of the country, but certainly not all of it as rainy summer days are a long term characteristic in the UK.

“The fact that footfall improved significantly post 5pm, when it was also raining, highlights the growing demand for leisure activities – hospitality, food and beverage trips”.

The number of shoppers increased by 10.4% during night time hours (8pm to 12am), whilst night time footfall in shopping centres rose by 12.7% overall, increasing by 17.1% on Saturday and 17.4% on Sunday, due to the increasing amount of food and beverage outlets in shopping centres.

The significant rate of growth is a result of a historic relatively poor hospitality offer in shopping centres, which has started to expand and attract more shoppers out of daytime hours.

At the same time, shoppers now have the convenience of online shopping which negates the need for many shopping trips if the weather is less than ideal, said Springboard.

Ms Wehrle added: “These results indicate the growth in trips focusing on experience rather than trips purely to buy products, and the growth of the hospitality sector.”

In addition to the new figures, Springboard has partnered with money back website Quidco to find out how consumers are feeling post Brexit.

The survey of 1,000 people found that of the 60% who intended to go out to eat and drink over Bank Holiday Weekend, two thirds of them said their spending would not be affected, with 74% revealing they would be spending the same amount this August Bank Holiday as last year.

Last month, the warmer weather boosted sales in the clothing sector by 22% despite the Brexit vote, while sub-sector including accessories (+33%), footwear (+24%), lingerie (+31%) and womenswear (+21%) all recorded above average yearly growth, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index.