UK footfall sees a slip due to omicron impact
Research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found a decrease in retail footfall in December 2021 year-on-two-years (Yo2Y) largely as a consequence of the surge in omicron cases and the work-from-home advice, which ultimately discouraged shoppers from hitting the stores.
According to BRC’s report, total UK footfall decreased by 18.6 percent in December (Yo2Y), with a 2.9 percentage point decrease from October. This is below the three-month average decline of 16.4 percent.
Despite the dreary figures, the UK’s footfall still outperformed other European economies, as it avoided some of the heftier restrictions those regions faced. France and Spain saw a drop of around 25 percent, Italy witnessed a 37 percent decline while Germany experienced a 51.1 percent decline.
The figures cover the four weeks between November 28 2021 and January 1 2022, a usually optimistic time for retailers in the lead up to the festive season.
For the whole of 2021, the total UK footfall was minus 33.2 percent (Yo2Y) below pre-pandemic levels.
In the organisation’s report, it noted the reason for using a Yo2Y valuation was due to the turbulence caused to UK retail in 2020 when many stores regularly hopped between open and close. It, therefore, decided to compare 2021 figures with that of 2019, pre-pandemic, for more “meaningful comparisons”.