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UK sees ‘significant’ rise in retail footfall as English lockdown ends

By Huw Hughes

7 Dec 2020

Footfall across all UK retail destinations increased by 40.3 percent last week from the week before as non-essential stores in England were permitted to reopen following the country’s second national lockdown.

Across the UK, footfall increased by 61.1 percent in shopping centres, 40 percent in high streets and 19.1 percent in retail parks, according to the latest figures from retail experts Springboard.

But those figures underplay the extent of uplift in UK footfall following the reopening of non-essential retailers in England on Wednesday, which for the four days averaged 62.6 percent across all retail destinations. Breaking that down by destination, footfall rose by 93.1 percent in shopping centres, 64.5 percent on high streets and 26.2 percent in retail parks.

Unsurprisingly, those increases were even higher in England. From Wednesday onward compared with the week before, footfall increased by 81 percent across all retail destinations, 121.3 percent in shopping centres, 79.8 percent in high streets and 40.7 percent in retail parks.

However, footfall across all UK retail destinations remained 41.3 percent lower than in 2019 last week.

“The first week of the reopening of non-essential retail stores in England delivered a significant rise in footfall across all retail destinations last week compared with the week before, but particularly in shopping centres,” Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said in a statement.

“It appears that extended trading hours are helping a little. Whilst the hours post 6pm only generally account for around 30 percent of footfall across a 24 hour period, there was a marginally greater rise in footfall post 6pm than during day time trading hours of 9am to 6pm. Despite the rises in footfall over the week, recovery from the decline that has occurred since the start of the first lockdown is still a way off, with the volume of customers in bricks and mortar destinations remaining far below the level recorded in 2019.”

Photo credit: FashionUnited