// Footfall plunged 7.8% in February, according to new data from Springboard
// Survey suggested that the coronavirus outbreak was not a major factor in overall footfall decline
// Springboard warned the increased severity of Covid-19 outbreak in recent days will impact footfall in March
Footfall throughout the month of February took a nose dive as dismal weather and storms caused shoppers to stay at home, according to new figures.
Severe and ongoing rain – particularly from Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis – caused footfall to plummet 7.8 per cent last month, the latest Springboard Footfall Monitor has shown.
The survey suggested that the more modest decline in retail parks and shopping centres highlighted the coronavirus outbreak was not a major factor in overall footfall decline.
- Storms Ciara & Dennis leave big dents on UK retail footfall (Ipsos)
- January consumer confidence given a “Boris bounce”
- Footfall drops 2.5% during crucial Christmas trading period (Springboard)
However, Springboard warned the increased severity of Covid-19 outbreak in recent days means it is likely it will stem shopping activity in March.
In February, shopping centres reported a 2.5 per cent slump in footfall on the back of a resilient performance by larger centres.
Elsewhere, retail park footfall declined by just 1.1 per cent after a stronger performance in January.
Springboard said the impending impact of coronavirus means the current quarter is expected to be another challenging period for already pressurised UK retailers.
“The resilience of retail parks and shopping centres demonstrates that coronavirus did not have a noticeable impact on footfall in February – if Covid-19 had been a significant factor then it is likely that all three destination types would have been impacted more equally,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.
“However, the month ended before the warning of its increased severity in the UK was made and so moving forward it is likely that shopper activity will be stemmed as consumers become more wary about interacting in public spaces.
“Whilst it seems that the first quarter of 2020 will yield yet more challenges for bricks and mortar retailers, experience has proven that footfall bounces back quickly once the immediate period of concern has passed.”
with PA Wires