Jul 19, 2021
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UK footfall flat last week but expect 'Freedom Week' jump - Springboard

Jul 19, 2021

First the dull news. Footfall across UK destinations rose by a meagre 0.9% week-on-week in the last seven days (11-17 July), the latest report from Springboard shows.

Weekend crowds return to a sunny Oxford Circus - Photo: Nigel Taylor

Now the sunny news. Expect footfall to jump almost 20% this week across the UK, the data company predicts, as Covid restrictions, such as face coverings and social distancing, are no longer mandatory in England from ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday.

“With summer holidays commencing and many opting for a Summer Staycation in the UK, footfall will continue to rise throughout July and into August as many look to enjoy the good weather”, was the further upbeat message from Springboard’s Insights director Diane Wehrle.

If you’re still keen on knowing what happened last week, here are the numbers. Footfall rose 3.3% in high streets but declined 0.8% in retail parks and fell by 2.2% in shopping centres “as many looked to make the most of the good weather”, the report showed.

Importantly, footfall in Central London rose 71.4% year-on-year and 4.9% week-on-week. That means it’s now down ‘only’ 50.5% compared to the same week in 2019.

The impact of the weather is clear on last week’s numbers. On Monday and Tuesday, when there was heavy rain, footfall declined by an average of 2% week-on-week across all destinations. 

However, from Tuesday to Friday, sunny weather saw the situation reverse, with an average increase of 4.3%. The hot weather on Saturday, which for many was the first opportunity to enjoy the sun, meant that footfall declined 9.2% in shopping centres and by 9.8% in retail parks, while in high streets it remained virtually level with a drop of just 0.4%. 

The uplift in high street footfall meant that the gap from the 2019 footfall level narrowed very slightly to -24.9% from -25.8% last week although, once again, it was high streets that drove this. 

In high streets 2021 vs 2019 footfall last week shifted from -33.3% to -30.5% while in both retail parks and shopping centres the gap from 2019 widened.

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