UK footfall drops to lowest level on record

UK footfall drops to lowest level on record
Shoppers resisted the warm weather and adhered to government advice over Easter.
// UK footfall fell 41.9% across March
// Shoppers managed to resist warm weather over Easter with further drop in shopping trips
// High streets & shopping centres hit the hardest as retail parks are best-placed for social distancing

Springboard cited an “unprecedented decline” of 41.9 per cent for the UK’s retail footfall in March.

Research released this morning by the marketing insights firm revealed the impact of the government’s enforced lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the final three weeks of March footfall fell an average of 61.5 per cent.

READ MORE: Retail footfall dives 81% in 2nd week of lockdown

Despite the recent spate of warm weather, the figures show that shoppers adhered to government advice and stayed at home amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Footfall across the UK’s bricks-and-mortar retail destinations were 83.1 per cent lower than Easter weekend last year, and 14.5 per cent lower over the same four days in the previous week.

“March 2020 will forever be remembered as the month that the UK went into lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the closure of all stores but those selling the most essential of items,” Springboard said.

It added: “The resulting impact on footfall in retail destinations inevitably was an unprecedented decline of 41.3 per cent over the month from March 2019.”

To date it has been high streets that have shown the steepest drop in footfall during the lockdown.

In the final week of March, which was the first week of enforced lockdown, high street footfall fell 84.4 per cent against the same week last year.

Meanwhile retail parks, with are usually anchored by large supermarkets, saw a 71.5 per cent decline.

It’s also thought panic buying delayed a decline in retail park footfall, which only began to experience a sharp drop off a week after high streets and shopping centres.

Springboard noted that while shopping safely is a paramount concern, the large stores and spacious environments more frequently found in retail parks will be preferable to shoppers.

“It is likely that even when we are in recovery, the psychological impact of the pandemic will linger with social distancing continuing to be the new normal for some time to come,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.

“If this were to be the case, retail parks and the space they offer will be a favoured destination for many.

“In the meantime, as lock down is likely to continue for some weeks yet, Britons will remember the role retail staff across grocery, pharmacy and every day essentials stores played in March 2020 and beyond in keeping it possible for families and households to continue to shop during such troubling times.”

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