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England’s high streets see footfall increase of +51% as stores re-open

Tom Bottomley
15 June 2020

According to the latest study by retail experts Springboard, footfall across all retail destinations in England increased by +41% up to 12pm today as non-essential stores re-opened, with England’s high streets seeing the greatest rise of +51% in comparison to last week.

The rise in footfall in high streets from last week is greater than in shopping centres where footfall rose by +37%. Springboard indicates that today’s warm and sunny weather undoubtedly helped high streets, as shoppers didn’t mind having to queue outside to enter stores.

Today’s reopening of non-essential retail has driven down the year on year decline to -34.2% across all retail destinations in England, and to -41.2% in England's high streets, showing that footfall across all retail destinations in England is around a third less than on the same day last year.

High streets in Northern Ireland saw a rise of +31.4% before noon today, Wales was up +12.1%, while Scotland was -3.1% while it still awaits the lifting of the enforced temporary closures for non-essential retailers due to COVID-19.

Insights director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, commented: “Footfall in retail parks that are dominated by high street retailers has risen by +41.7% in England, but by only +25.1% on England's retail parks as a whole, demonstrating that shoppers have switched from homeware stores and food stores to locations with high street retailers such as M&S and Next.

“Some of the uplift in footfall is a consequence of a drop in footfall last Monday from the Monday before, but nevertheless the rise is significant, and we must remember that these results are only for the period up to 12pm. Footfall is likely to increase further by early afternoon as people come out later in the day and during their lunch hours.”

Springboard indicates that retail footfall is sure to rise even further during the coming weeks as the government continues to relax restrictions. Further data from the study highlights what consumers have missed most during lockdown are restaurants and cafes at 32%, fashion at 21% and entertainment at 16%.

On the safety side, 29% of shoppers said observing social distancing was of the highest importance, with 26% citing limiting the number of people in stores as a necessity. A further 22% said the availability of hand sanitisers was another key factor which makes shoppers feel safer when visiting shopping destinations.

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