Retail footfall plunges 62% in June as Brits remain cautious

BRC ShopperTrak covid-19 lockdown reopening
Retail parks saw the biggest improvement in footfall levels during the month
// Footfall in the UK dropped 62.6% year on year in June
// Brits continued to be cautious after non-essential retail reopened on June 15

The UK saw footfall levels plummet by 62.6 per cent year on year in June – a 19 per cent improvement on May, when non-essential retail was closed due to the coronavirus lockdown,

In the first two weeks of June, there was a 77.1 per cent year-on-year drop which improved to 53.3 per cent once stores were allowed to open in Northern Ireland from June 12, and England from June 15, the BRC and ShopperTrak monitor shows.

Retail parks saw the biggest improvement during the month as footfall was down 33.8 per cent on June 2019.


Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall declined by 63.7 per cent on the same period last year, and the BRC pointed out that the close environment in many centres made social distancing a challenge.

Visits to high streets were down 64.5 per cent year on year.

“With lockdown measures easing, consumers are slowly re-emerging onto their high streets, shopping centres and retail parks,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential retail stores on 15 June,” she said.

“Retail parks have performed the best because they have a broad mix of retailers, more space and on-site parking, however, high streets and shopping centres are quickly catching up.

“UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost.

“The chancellor’s economic update earlier this week provided critical interventions to protect jobs and incomes for households across the UK.

“We hope that some of the generous measures taken to support the hospitality industry will benefit footfall for retailers who are in close proximity to restaurants, bars and cafes.

“However, unless footfall returns to UK streets, government must be prepared to step in and take further action to boost demand, such as widening the VAT cut to include retail goods.”

ShopperTrak retail consultant EMEA Andy Sumpter said: “It’s too early to say if the re-opening of pubs and restaurants will help significantly boost retail footfall, but the UK was the last amongst its European peers to reopen doors and is also seeing the slowest rate of recovery.”

“In a time of purposeful shopping, footfall has a totally new value, but perhaps the biggest challenge currently is dealing with every customer as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he said.

“The most effective retailers are using footfall data to allow customers to know the best time to visit to avoid queues.

“As customers begin to get used to new shopping practices, retailers will be working hard to ensure they have the right number of staff available at the right times.”

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