January footfall down 20.8% but shoppers start to return to high street

New figures have shown that retail footfall worsened slightly in the month of January to 20.8% below 2019 from 18.6% below in December.
"The impetus created by the start of the great return to the high street will inevitably generate a ripple effect across all physical destinations in the forthcoming weeks."
// Retail footfall worsened slightly in January but strengthened in the second half of the month
// Activity was boosted by employees returning to their offices for at least part of the week

Retail footfall worsened slightly in January to 20.8% below 2019’s level from a 18.6% drop in December, but there was bounce back on the high street in the second half of the month.

The removal of Plan B Covid-19 restrictions meant that overall footfall was 19.2% behind 2019 levels in the latter two weeks of the month, according to Springboard data. This compares to a 21.5% drop in the first two weeks.

However, the improving footfall in the second half of January was only evident on the high street. Footfall strengthened from 28.9% behind 2019 levels in the first two weeks, to 22.4% behind in the second two weeks.

In shopping centres and retail parks footfall slightly worsened in the latter half of the month.

Across the month, the high street remained the worst hit retail location, with footfall down 26.1% on 2019. This compares to a 25.5% fall in shopping centres and 4.3% in retail parks.


READ MORE: Footfall edges up almost 2% following end of Plan B work from home guidance


Activity was boosted by employees returning to their offices for at least part of the week, and shoppers returning to physical stores during the day and to restaurants in the evening.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “Whilst shopping centres and retail parks did not see a noticeable uplift in footfall in January, the impetus created by the start of the great return to the high street will inevitably generate a ripple effect across all physical destinations in the forthcoming weeks, which even at this early stage offers a reason for optimism amongst retailers and retail destinations.”

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