UK footfall dips as Plan B restrictions hit high streets

Overall UK footfall declined by -1.1% last week, compared to the week before as the Government’s Plan B restrictions started.
“The hoped for pre-Christmas boost in trading did not materialise last week," - Diane Wehrle.
// Overall UK footfall declined by -1.1% last week, compared to the week before as the Government’s Plan B restrictions started
// Footfall dropped -3% in Central London week-on-week, and according to Central London’s “Back to the Office Benchmark”

New figures have revealed that retail footfall dropped by 1.1 per cent last week from the previous seven day period despite the fact that Plan B Covid-19 restrictions had not fully come into force.

The data from retail specialist Springboard shows that the number of visits to from Central London was down 3 per cent from the week before while regional cities saw a 1.6 per cent decline.

In contrast, footfall in market towns edged up 1.5 per cent, suggesting people were shopping closer to home.


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The severe weather on Tuesday December 7 had a damning effect on overall UK footfall for the week, as it declined by 11.1 per cent overall, and by 15.2 per cent in high streets, versus 7.7% per cent in shopping centres and 5.8 per cent in retail parks which offer protection from the worst of the elements.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “The hoped for pre-Christmas boost in trading did not materialise last week, with footfall in UK retail destinations declining from the week before, all of which was driven by a reduction in activity in high streets. Footfall did rise in retail parks and shopping centres, but only by a marginal amount which wasn’t enough to deliver an uplift overall.

“The poor result on Saturday may well be the first signs of the impact of the Plan B restrictions which, although limited to compulsory mask wearing in stores up to the end of last week, is likely to have increased nervousness amongst consumers around visiting busy destinations during peak shopping periods.

“Indeed, there were already early signs showing last week, with declines in footfall from the week before in Central London and large cities outside of the capital, while footfall in market towns – which are smaller more local high streets – rose from the week before.

“Whilst Plan B restrictions, such as advice to work from home if possible, don’t come into force until today, it appears to have already had an impact last week, with a decline in Springboard’s Central London Back to the Office benchmark that was nearly double the drop in footfall in Central London as a whole.”

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