Retail footfall drops after government’s ‘work from home’ call

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Springboard covid-19 pandemic lockdown
The compulsory closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday onward led a huge drop in footfall
// Footfall drops across retail after the government tightened security measures
// Last week, the government encouraged people to work from home
// The hospitality sector will be forced to shut at 10pm

Footfall across UK retail has dropped by three per cent over the last week, as the government’s ‘work from home where possible’ announcement impacted high streets.

High street footfall declined by 6.8 per cent overall after dropping by an average 11 per cent from Wednesday to Saturday, compared to a drop of just 0.6 per cent in the previous three days, Springboard found.

“There was an immediate and downward shift in footfall in high streets from Wednesday onwards, which was inevitable given the prevalence of hospitality and the fact that the majority of offices are based in towns and city centres,” Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said.


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“Unsurprisingly, the compulsory closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday onward led a huge drop in footfall in high streets after 11pm.”

Meanwhile, footfall in retail parks and shopping centres increased by 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively in the week.

Wehrle said: “Despite the impact on footfall of the increased government restrictions from Thursday there was little impact on the annual result, as footfall actually rose marginally over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday, possibly due to consumers making trips in advance of further restrictions, which helped to offset the drops later in the week.”

Last week, prime minister Boris Johnson announced new measures that aim to ensure retailers can remain open in a “Covid-secure way”.

He said that all retail workers in England will need to wear face coverings from Thursday, or retailers face fines of up to £10,000.

All pubs and restaurants will be forced to offer table service only and will have to close at 10pm.

Johnson also confirmed a government U-turn on getting people back into offices, and workers should work from home “if they can”.

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