UK footfall shows sign of resilience despite England’s second lockdown

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UK footfall shows sign of resilience despite England's second lockdown
(Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wires)
// UK-wide footfall remains weak as England enters 2nd week of lockdown #2, but it’s still better than it was during the spring lockdown
// Springboard says footfall across UK retail destinations last week was 57.7% lower than the same week in 2019
// It was 64.7% lower in high streets and 65.7% lower in shopping centres but just 34.3% lower in retail parks

New data has shown that UK-wide footfall remains weak as England entered its second week of another national lockdown, but it’s still better and more resilient than it was during the spring lockdown.

According to retail insights firm Springboard, footfall across UK retail destinations last week was 57.7 per cent lower than the same week in 2019, compared to the first complete of lockdown in March when footfall across the country dropped by 75.1 per cent.

High streets were also resilient, with footfall dropping 64.7 per cent year-on-year last week, compared to a plunge of 79 per cent in the first week of spring lockdown.


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Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall declined 65.7 per cent last week compared to the first week of lockdown when it dropped 79 per cent, and retail park footfall declined 34.3 per cent last week compared to 61 per cent in March.

While England entered its second week of lockdown last week, Wales exited its own 17-day firebreak lockdown and this – coupled with an early push for Christmas shopping – may have played a role in uplifting the overall UK footfall figures.

Much of Northern Ireland and Scotland’s remained open, although they each had their own devolved restrictions in place.

Springboard found that between Thursday to Saturday specifically, UK-wide footfall was up 10.1 per cent in high streets and 14.1 per cent in shopping centres, while retail parks saw an 18.7 per cent uplift.

In Wales alone, Springboard said footfall in its retail destinations rose by “a staggering” 135.9 per cent last week from the week before.

“The first complete week of Lockdown 2 drove footfall down across UK retail destinations, although the decline wasn’t nearly as severe as it was in Lockdown 1 or indeed as comprehensive,” Springboard insight director Diane Wehrle said.

“This was partly due to schools remaining open, although the vast majority of school related journeys take place outside of retail destinations and so would not directly impact footfall in high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

“The fact that footfall is more resilient may well be a function of the proximity of Christmas, and the concern of shoppers to buy well in advance this year to avoid queues, facilitated by the wide range of non-food products offered in stores selling essential goods.

“In the second half of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, footfall was significantly higher than on the same three days in the previous week which were the first three days of the lockdown, indicating that as the week progressed shoppers began to make trips out of their homes.

“Indeed, this reinforces the concern about the likely rebound in activity following the end of the lockdown, highlighted by the unprecedented increase in footfall recorded in Wales following the end of the two week lockdown.”

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