Good news for high streets as consumers return for New Year’s Eve

Shoppers on high street in front of sale window
It was good news for the high street as consumers returned for New Year’s Eve
// The year ends on a positive note for high streets as consumers return for New Year’s Eve
// High streets saw footfall rise by 5.2% on NYE, compared to the previous week

New Year’s Eve saw a “shift in behaviour” from the cautious attitude shown by shoppers ahead of Christmas, as high street footfall rose by more than 5%, according to retail experts.

According to data from industry analyst Springboard, high street footfall increased by 5.2% across the UK on 31 December, when compared with the figures from a week earlier (Christmas Eve).

This pattern is sharp contrast with pre-pandemic levels in 2019, when New Year’s Eve high street footfall declined by 9% from the week before.

The good news came despite a footfall drop of 15% across all UK retail destinations last week, versus the week before (the run-up to Christmas).

In central London, New Year’s Eve footfall surged by 54.8% compared to the figures from a week earlier.

Read more: Rising demand for retail property gives “renewed optimism”
to UK high streets

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Despite the well documented cautiousness of shoppers in the run up to and over Christmas this year, it appears that on New Year’s Eve there was a shift in behaviour, with footfall in high streets increasing from the week before (Christmas Eve).

“Not only was this the only day last week when high street footfall was higher than the week before, but it was also in sharp contrast with New Year’s Eve 2019, when high street footfall was lower on New Year’s Eve than on Christmas Eve.

“The winners on New Year’s Eve were central London and historic town centres, where footfall rose significantly from the week before, whilst declining in smaller local high streets.”

The figures also revealed that footfall across all UK retail destinations over the week from Boxing Day was 24.5% lower than the same week in 2019, but 78% higher than the same period in 2020 when strict Covid restrictions were in place.

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