// Footfall across the UK dropped 46.1% in the 5 weeks to January 2
// High streets were the worst performing location for retailers during December
// London was the hardest hit in December, with footfall down 58%
UK retailers have renewed calls for the government to offer further financial support after footfall continued to drop in December.
New research found that footfall at UK shopping destinations dropped 46.1 per cent in the five weeks to January 2.
High streets were the worst performing location for retailers during the month, with footfall down 49.5 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to BRC-ShopperTrak.
Visitor numbers at shopping centres fell at the similar rate of 47.3 per cent, while footfall to retail parks slipped 17.3 per cent year on year.
Across 2020, UK footfall was down 43.4 per cent as Covid-19 restrictions continued to hammer trading.
London was the hardest hit in December, with footfall down 58 per cent as it was among the first areas to be put under the tougher tier 4 restrictions.
These restrictions involved closing most high street stores, pubs and restaurants.
Wales and the south-east of England were the next worst-hit areas, while the north-west had the best end to the year, with sales down 36 per cent.
“Rent bills continue to weigh heavily and the threat of a return to full business rates liability in April still looms,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“The government must urgently reassure those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic that they will receive vital financial support in the form of an extension to the coronavirus business rates relief.”
Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s boss Simon Roberts also backed calls for business rates reform on Thursday.
“Covid needs to be the catalyst for change in the way business rates work,” he said.