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The Experian FootFall Retail Index reports a year

on year decrease of 3.1 per cent in October, a further drop from the 2.4 per cent decline in September but a marginal improvement on the 3.2 per cent fall seen in August. Cumulatively the Index is down by 1.7 per cent year-on-year. The first three weeks of the month experienced

consistently negative year-on-year footfall variances of -2.7 per cent and -2.8 per cent and led to the last week of the month being impacted further by -4.3 per cent. As is traditional for the Halloween period, the last week of the month achieved the largest footfall week of the year so far, although this year’s week on week increase of +6.7 per cent didn’t quite live up to the heights of last year. This annual spike is largely attributed to the half-

term week. With children off school, numbers increase in the shopping centres and with many parents taking annual leave to contribute to those shopper numbers. The beginning of October set new records in

temperature terms and as a result may have contributed to the year-on-year drop in footfall, as consumers may have snubbed the shopping centres in favour of outdoor pursuits.

The month showed some stark regional variations with

the North East being the only region to achieve a positive year-on-year growth of 0.6 per cent. In contrast to this the Eastern region was down by 7.2 per cent. Those regions that performed worse than the UK Nat-

ional average were London at -3.3 per cent, North West at -4.8 per cent, West Midlands at -6.3 per cent and Eastern at -7.2 per cent. All of the other regions performed better than the UK National

average; North East at +0.6 per cent, Yorkshire-Humber at -0.1 per cent, South West & Wales at -2.0 per cent, South East at -2.3 per cent, East Midlands at -2.5 per cent and Scotland at -2.8 per cent.

Retail parks had a better month in comparison with the index being down by just 0.3 per cent which is a fairly big difference to the 3.1 per cent fall in the UK National Index. The last week of the month showed a positive increase year- on-year, so perhaps there’s a small shift in visitors from the shopping centres into retail parks.

MAPPING THE MALE SHOPPER’S MINDSET The findings of a new report

into male shopping behaviour reveal that 54 per cent of men now shop every couple of days. Conducted by Shoppercentric,

an independent agency specialising in shopper research, the findings show, perhaps stereotypically, that 49 percent of men only like to shop if they know what they’re going to buy compared to 38 per cent of women, and that their priority is to get in and out of a shop as quickly as possible. Men are also more likely to be put off by overcrowding and queues. On the flip side, men tend to

spend more money to impress a partner on a shopping trip,

averaging £391 in comparison to women’s £131. (Fourteen per cent of men spend over £200 on a partner’s birthday present compared to just four percent of women). And young men (18-24 year

olds) seem to be exempt from most male shopping clichés and are happier to browse, enjoy the social side of shopping and what’s more appear to be more impulsive than women. Twenty-four percent of men

aged 18-24 (and 22 per cent of men aged 25-34) agree with the statement that they love making shopping a social event with their friends, compared to a 12 percent

male average and 22 percent of women. Plus 63 per cent of this group

are often reminded in store of something they want to buy. “We conducted extensive

qualitative and quantitative research for this report as we really wanted to know what made male shoppers tick and to specifically challenge some of the perceptions about their buying behaviour,” said Shoppercentric managing director, Danielle Pinnington. “The findings have been very

insightful. Yes, they support the already established stereotype that men prefer to plan their shopping and spend less time browsing, but

they also show that men get a lot of enjoyment out of shopping when they find a retail channel or store format that suits them. The issue we’ve identified, and needs to be addressed, is that most stores don’t suit them - hence the internet being a preferred channel for many.” This was underlined by new

research from Perfomics which showed men to be the leading demographic when it comes to shopping online. They are frequently looking for a place that satisfies all their consumer needs and the internet offers an array of choice, whereas the high street is far too chaotic for many male shoppers. November 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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