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Jan 26, 2021
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'Lockdown fatigue' sets in as weekly retail footfall rises, London the biggest draw

Published
Jan 26, 2021

Some consumers are finding it hard to stay at home. It seems footfall across all UK retail destinations rose last week, despite lockdown restrictions and the onset of winter weather in many parts of the country.


Picture: Nigel Taylor



Regardless of the very limited options on offer retail-wise, consumers we’re still drawn to visiting high streets, shopping centres and retail parks last week in what appears to be the onset of “lockdown fatigue”, according to retail analysts at Springboard.

Total footfall rose by 9% week-on-week between 17-23 January, a sharp contrast to the drop in the previous week of 10.9% and the average -22.6% fall over the preceding four weeks.

That meant the still-dismal annual result strengthened slightly to -65.3% across all retail destinations, from -67.5% in the week before.

Footfall rose in all three destination types from the week before with high streets up 10.9% week-on-week, and shopping centres rising 9.2%. That was followed by a smaller increase of 4.5% in retail parks, a destination that had been more of a magnet for frustrated shoppers during lockdown.

Apart from on Tuesday and Wednesday when footfall declined on both days (averaging -2.2%), footfall increased on every other day, averaging +13.9% and reaching as much as +23.2% on Thursday. On Saturday, which despite the Covid-19 pandemic, remains the peak shopping day of the week, footfall rose by 16% from the week before.

And the biggest draw of all was London. The increase in footfall in the capital's centre rose  17.1% and was an even higher 18.6% on the outskirts, nearly double that across high streets generally. 

It was also noticeably higher than both the rise in footfall in regional cities outside the capital (+4.5%) or in smaller high streets (+11.4% in market towns, +9.9% in coastal towns and +9% in historic towns). 

Meanwhile, there was significant variation across the UK, with the most modest rise of +0.6% in Wales and +2.2% in Northern Ireland.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard said: “Despite rain and snow last week across much of the UK, footfall rose in retail destinations last week from the week before for the first time in five weeks; perhaps providing the first indications of lockdown fatigue emerging once again. 

“The last rise in footfall was in the peak Christmas trading week beginning 13th December, and even then the rise was only a third as large as last week's; since then there has been a double-digit drop in footfall in each week”.
 

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