August footfall buoyant but “anticipation of austerity awaits”
In what was an unexpected turnaround, footfall strengthened across UK retail destinations in August to -13.2% below 2019 from -14.2% in July, though is expected to dip in September as schools go back and the anticipation of October’s hike in energy costs bites.
Footfall strengthened to -15.1% in high streets and to -17.5% in shopping centres, but worsened in retail parks to -4.5% compared to 2019, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.
Covering the four weeks from 31 July - 27 August 2022, UK footfall was up by 8.6% compared to August 2021, with high streets seeing a huge rise of 13.9% and shopping centres seeing a 7.5% rise, though retail parks suffered a -1.7% drop.
The rise in August footfall was driven by the “continuous heat”, which encouraged staycations and fuelled activity in retail destinations.
Large swathes of consumers also took a much longed for summer holiday during August, which had been deferred due to previous COVID-19 travel restrictions, giving pre-holiday spending a boost.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Many consumers took a much longed for and deferred summer holiday during August - many of which will have been paid for last year or even the year before - driving pre-holiday spending, and creating what might be seen as the “last hurrah” before the rise in the energy price cap kicks in during October.
“Looking forward to September, we are expecting the traditional dip in footfall from August as schools go back, which has occurred every year since Springboard started publishing its footfall data in 2009.
“The magnitude of the dip from August to September in 2019 was -3.3%, and as the euphoria of a hot and sunny summer ends and the anticipation of austerity awaits, we anticipate that the drop in footfall from August to September this year will be at least equal or even greater than this.”