March footfall bodes well for stores' comeback - Springboard
Pent-up demand to shop in a real store is simmering nicely and provides optimism for a bounceback from 12 April’s reopening. That’s the less-than-surprising view from the Springboard Footfall Monitor, released Thursday.
Its figures covering five weeks (28 February-3April) show continuing gains in footfall, supporting Springboard’s forecast for a significant uplift in visits when non-essential retail opens next week.
It anticipates the rise to be around 48% in the first week from the week before, followed by a further rise of 10% in the second week.
What’s more, footfall is likely to continue to rise over the following weeks but probably at a slightly slower rate as shoppers look forward to dining out following the reopening of indoor hospitality on 17 May, it noted.
These predictions come as footfall appeared to recover strongly in March to an annual decline of -28.1%, from -61% in February 2021. However, this was distorted by the anniversary of Lockdown 1 falling in the penultimate week of the month.
This meant that while in the first three weeks of the month footfall averaged 50.5% lower than in 2020, in the final two weeks it was more than twice the level in the same two weeks in 2020.
Of more relevance therefore is a comparison with 2019, which shows that in March as a whole, footfall was still 55.2% lower than before the pandemic. Footfall declined from 2019 by 63.7% in high streets, by 66.6% in shopping centres and by 25% in retail parks.
Retail parks continued to be the clear winners outperforming high street and shopping centres “which isn’t at all surprising given that food stores, DIY stores and garden centres continue to trade whilst all non-essential stores remain closed”, noted Springboard.
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