Footfall on the rise as workers return to offices

The first week of September has seen footfall increase on UK high streets by 2.6 percent where many workplaces are located, with Greater London high streets seeing an increase of 5.3 percent.

The latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across all retail destinations throughout the UK rose by 0.4 percent last week, August 30 to September 5.

Of the three destination types, it was only the high streets, where many offices are based, that footfall rose from the week before, by 2.6 percent. Footfall dropped in both retail parks and shopping centres, by 0.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

This result, Springboard suggests means that the return to the office has begun, while noting “albeit modestly”.

The modest start of a return to the office is supported by the result for the four working days between Tuesday and Friday, when footfall rose in the UK’s high streets by 0.5 percent from the week before, versus declines of 3.4 percent in UK retail parks and 3.2 percent in UK shopping centres.

The return to the office sees modest increase in footfall for London

Greater London's high streets, where office employment is greater than in any other part of the UK, footfall rose by 5.3 percent from the week before, more than in any other area, suggesting that employees are starting to return to their offices.

Footfall rose on a week-on-week basis in seven out of the ten UK geographies, but the next largest rises ranged from 4.1 percent in the West Midlands to 4.7 percent in the East Midlands.

In contrast, in retail parks footfall rose from the week before in only three UK geographies and in shopping centres footfall declined in all areas apart from in Greater London where it rose by 3.5 percent.

Despite the improvement in high street footfall, Springboard added that it is “important to appreciate the scale of the shift needed to recover the decline in activity that has occurred,” with footfall in Greater London’s high streets remaining 40.9 percent lower than last year, 51.9 percent lower in Central London and 39.5 percent lower in the UK regional cities.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard said in a statement: “The week of August Bank Holiday Monday, which for many households represented the first week that children returned to school, led to a modest rise in footfall across all UK retail destinations. Last week’s result was enough to continue the trend of recovery, delivering the best year on year result since the start of the lockdown in March.”

Springboard added that the annual result for UK retail destinations has strengthened to -25 percent, the best year-on-year change since the start of the lockdown.

Image: FashionUnited


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