Footfall almost returns to pre-Omicron levels

Springboard
// Footfall over the period from February 27 to April 2 rose 5.4% compared with the month before
// Footfall almost returned to the levels recorded last year before the Omicron variant emerged

Footfall levels recovered in March compared with February as figures almost returned to the levels recorded last year before the Omicron variant emerged.

Footfall over the period from February 27 to April 2 rose 5.4% compared with the month before, according to Springboard.

Footfall in March also marked a 15.3% decline compared with the same period in 2019.


READ MORE: Retail sales fall 0.3% in February and online demand drops, ONS says


Footfall levels last month were also close to levels of 14.5% recorded in November prior to the increase in Covid cases.

High street footfall fell 17.4% across the month compared with March 2019, an improvement of about a third from February this year.

Footfall in shopping centres dropped 21.3%, while retail park footfall declined by 4.2% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Despite the increase last month, the uplift in footfall is not expected to continue due to the fall in consumer disposable income as a result of rising energy and fuel prices, as well as inflation.

Springboard market and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “With the substantial increase in energy and fuel prices, consumers are aware that increased costs are on the horizon but have not fully hit and so are already being relatively cautious, and the concomitant rise in inflation that is forecast over the forthcoming months will put household budgets under increasing pressure.

“Inevitably this will mean less disposable income and so some retail spending will be curtailed, particularly as we enter the summer period when many consumers will be looking to reserve budget to spend on much-longed-for summer holidays.

“Alongside price inflation, the longer-term challenge for physical retail destinations is hybrid home/office working that now appears to have become widely adopted. With many employees opting to work at home for at least part of the week, the recovery in footfall – particularly in large city centres – has been constrained and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”

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