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Mar 30, 2021
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UK footfall is up again as consumers are impatient to get back to stores

Published
Mar 30, 2021

Exactly a year after lockdown restrictions were introduced in the UK, the country is preparing to reopen next month and footfall to retail destinations continues to rise as consumers become impatient to get back to normality, while some act as if lockdown is already over.


Image: Public domain



Springboard on Monday said that in the week to March 27, footfall across UK retail destinations increased 6.6% compared to the previous week. This followed a succession of increases as consumers have been getting out and about and visiting any shops that they can.

It's interesting to note that footfall last week was actually 68.1% higher than in the same week in 2020. While annual comparisons from now on will be with lockdown weeks (so will look artificially good), as both weeks included full lockdowns, it shows how much more willing people are to go shopping at present.

That said, compared to the same week in 2019, footfall was still down a devastatingly bad 57.3%. And in Central London, while it was up 120.3% compared to the same week in 2020 (and up 7.7% compared to the previous week), footfall plummeted when looked at against ‘normal’ times. It was down 82% versus the equivalent week in 2019.

Last week, footfall in retail parks continued to be the most buoyant with a 9% increase, while high streets rose 4% and even shopping centres were up 4.3%, having fallen in the previous week.

As restrictions are relaxed, together with the forecast warm weather for much of the UK, Springboard predicts that footfall will increase noticeably in the week ahead, possibly by as much as 15%. This will narrow the gap slightly between this year and 2019, “but a big gulf will still exist, which can only start to be bridged in a meaningful way when non-essential stores and outdoor hospitality reopen on 12 April.”

Once retail reopens, Springboard anticipates that footfall will rise by around 48% from the week before, with a further rise of around 10% in the week following.

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