Return to office boosts UK retail footfall

UK retail increased by 2.7% last week from the previous seven-day period after city centres were boosted by people making a return to the office.
"High street footfall was undoubtedly supported by a shift back to the office," : Sprinboard.
// Footfall in high streets rose by 3.7% while shopping centres and retail parks saw respective uplifts of 2.3% and 0.9%
// Footfall rose by 6.5% in central London and by 6.1% in large city centres outside of the capital

Last week UK retail footfall rose by 2.7 per cent compared with the week before, new data has shown.

Data provider Springboard’s weekly monitor showed that footfall in central London was up by 6.5 per cent, as workers return to offices after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Springboard’s “Central London Back to Office Footfall Benchmark,” which tracks footfall in key Central London locations where offices, rather than stores, are located, showed a rise of 8.8 per cent.

Across the Monday to Friday working week, footfall rose in high streets by 6.7 per cent but it fell by 1.5 per cent on Saturday, whilst in shopping centres the rise in footfall averaged 3 per cent between Monday and Friday but rose by 0.4 per cent on Saturday, further supporting the claim that a return to offices has started.

The drift back to offices is not just a phenomenon in the capital, with large city centres outside of London experiencing a 6.1 per cent increase in footfall, the report said.

However, in both outer London and in market towns across the UK, footfall rose by just 1.5 per cent.

The greatest overall increases occurred in high streets, with a rise of 3.7 per cent, a “significant improvement” from the same week in 2019 when footfall was down 6.3 per cent.

Shopping centres saw an increase of 2.3 per cent whilst footfall increased by 0.9 per cent in retail parks.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard said: “Footfall in UK retail destinations last week rose last week from the week before, which is the first rise in the past four weeks and a particularly positive result as footfall declined in the same week in both 2019 and 2020.

“Footfall rose in all three destination types, but by far the greatest uplift occurred in high streets, where the increase was a third higher than in shopping centres and four times as great as that in retail parks.

“High street footfall was undoubtedly supported by a shift back to the office, demonstrated by a greater uplift from the week before in central London and large city centres outside of the capital, than in smaller high streets and in outer London. In areas of central London with a large proportion of office rather than retail space, footfall rose by more than in central London as a whole.”

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