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Boxing Day retail footfall slumps 60% as Tier 4 restrictions are applied

Lauretta Roberts
26 December 2020

Boxing Day retail footfall slumped by -60% across all retail destinations year-on-year as more non-essential stores were subject to Tier 4 lockdown restrictions across much of the East and South East of the country.

Even where stores were in Tiers 2 and 3, which still permits non-essential retail to open, footfall slumped -38.2% and -42.5% respectively as shoppers stayed away from the shops on what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that up to 12pm today, footfall in Tier 4, where all non-essential retail stores are closed, was understandably the worst hit at -77.3% lower than Boxing Day last year.

Retail parks fared slightly better than high streets or shopping centres, with a decline in footfall of -54.3% versus -64.7% in shopping centres and -60.4% in high streets. 

Where stores are open shoppers appear to be staying local, with declines in footfall of -46.1% in the smallest shopping centres across the UK and -49% in market towns, versus declines of -71.3% in the largest shopping centres, -89.4% in Central London and -62.4% in regional cities outside of London.

The ongoing closure of hospitality outlets in Tier 3 locations - which account for 54.7% of total footfall - will mean that trips to stores will not have the same degree of appeal for shoppers; consequently a proportion of shoppers in these locations are likely to opt for the convenience of online shopping, hence the drop in footfall in Tier 3 of -42.5% versus -38.2% in Tier 2 locations, where hospitality businesses are still open for seated dining, which will support visits to stores. 

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “Boxing Day has been attracting less retail footfall each year in five of the past seven years, as shoppers turn online to grab the best bargains. Interestingly, Boxing Day has been evolving into more of a leisure based day, with shoppers starting their trips later on in the day, and combining shopping trips with eating out and catching up with family and friends. 

“We no doubt expected a drop in footfall due to the closure of non-essential retail in tier 4, however it is evident that the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to make retail destinations less attractive. This year, after spending so much time online, consumers are now experts at online shopping, whereby they know they can enjoy the same discounts, from the comfort and safety of their own home.” 

Earlier today Barclaycard revealed that the average shopper was expected to spend £162 in the post-Christmas sales online as they chose to avoid the stores.

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