There was an interesting article in the Observer yesterday highlighting drops in retail footfall. In some centres, they looked pretty dramatic – 10% in Newcastle, 6% in Cambridge… It’s difficult to see how unusual these figures are without some historical context. How volatile has footfall been historically? Has anyone done any research on the relationship between (changes in) retail rents and footfall? Given what’s been happening to Austin Reed and BHS and the fact that it’s happening when real incomes are starting to increase, it could suggest potential structural problems in the sector. The article mentions 46,000 empty shops nationally – at a time when it is expected that buy-to-let investors may shift their focus their focus the retail sector.