High Street shopping fighting back in Wales, figures show

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High Streets are enjoying a resurgence as consumers in Wales turn out in larger numbers than the rest of the UK, new figures have shown.

Wales' footfall figures for February grew by 1.7% compared to 2016 - the fastest growth of any UK region.

That was above the three-month average of 0.2% and the annual average of 0.3%, with Wales the only UK nation to have a positive twelve-month average.

High Streets saw the biggest increase.

But out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres saw a decline, with consumers attracted to city centres for shopping along with dining and leisure.

The 1.7% increase in consumer footfall across the board in Wales in February compared to 0.5% in January.

'Increasing caution'

Retail parks experienced their biggest drop in footfall, -1.6%, since November 2013, as spending on furniture and household items weakened.

Insights director at retail analysts, Springboard, Diane Wehrle, said: "High streets are clearly benefiting as the destination of choice for dining and leisure, while shopping centres continue to underperform as they struggle with a weak entertainment and leisure offer, coupled with increasing caution amongst consumers around retail spend."

Sara Jones, head of policy and external affairs at the Welsh Retail Consortium, said the figures were good news, particularly for High Streets across Wales.

She added: "The challenge for our town centres and shopping destinations will be turning this into a more sustained uptick in the months ahead, particularly as the popularity of online shopping and click and collect services continues to soar."

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