“Escalating lockdown fatigue” boosts UK footfall
Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by +6.7% last week, 31 January – 7 February, 2021, as lockdown fatigue grows and the UK edges closer to a new government “roadmap out of lockdown” announcement.
Footfall rose by +9% in UK high streets, +4.5% in retail parks and +4.3% in shopping centres, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.
The increase in footfall has meant a further reduction in the year-on-year decline – to -63.9% across all retail destinations from -65.2% last week, and that’s from a peak of -67.5% in the third week of Lockdown 3.
Footfall actually increased every day last week, averaging +4% over the working week but +22.6% on Sunday and +11.2% on Saturday. The degree of uplift varied across the UK, ranging from -4.9% in Scotland where the weather was most severe and -0.2% in Northern Ireland, to +17.6% in the West Midlands and +10.5% in the South West.
Despite the heavy impact that the pandemic has had on large cities, footfall rose in regional cities by +2.5% and by +12.3% in Central London.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “Despite rain covering much of the UK last week, footfall in retail destinations rose from the week before - the third consecutive week in which footfall has increased and by far greater an uplift than in the previous seven day period. Increases occurred across all three destination types, but were particularly noticeable in high streets where they reached double digits in all but three geographies.
“While large city centres have taken the biggest hit, footfall still rose marginally in regional cities and by double digits in Central London. With shopper activity increasing for the past three weeks despite all but essential stores remaining closed, the results are delivering ever more compelling evidence of escalating lockdown fatigue.
“The UK’s accelerated vaccination drive could well be driving additional consumer confidence, however, we must remember that it is still only the elderly and vulnerable who have had their vaccinations, and they are typically the least likely to be making trips.”