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Footfall across all UK retail destinations rises 7% as “pent-up” demand grows

Tom Bottomley
15 March 2021

Despite the continued lockdown restrictions and non-essential stores remaining closed, footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by 7% in the week from 7-13 March, 2021, compared to the week before, according to retail experts Springboard.

It’s seen as further evidence of the growing level of pent-up demand among consumers, seemingly increasingly eager to return to non-essential stores when they reopen on 12 April.

Footfall rose on five of the seven days last week, increasing by +10% on each day between Thursday and Saturday, with a peak of +14.1% on Tuesday 9 March.

Footfall rose in all types of high street apart from in coastal towns, where it dropped by -7.9%.

In Central London, footfall rose by +14.3%, however, in other regional cities outside of the capital the uplift was more modest at just +2.3%.

It seems that shoppers continued to stay local, as footfall in market towns rose by +6.2% bringing the annual decline to -53.1% versus -67.9% in regional cities.

Despite the double digit rise in footfall in Central London last week, the impact of the pandemic on the capital is evident as footfall remains -78.2% below the 2020 level.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “As we approach the anniversary of the first lockdown, we can see the significant degree to which consumer activity has changed since the same week in 2020.

Footfall across UK retail destinations rose once again last week - the seventh rise in eight consecutive weeks – while in the same week last year footfall not only declined but, as consumers were receiving more and more messages concerning the spread of the virus, the drop was greater than in the previous eight weeks.

“With non-essential stores still closed until 12 April, the steady increase in visits to high streets and shopping centres delivers further evidence of the degree of pent-up demand among consumers to return to stores.”

The continuous uplifts in activity in retail destinations from week to week means that the drop in footfall over the year has narrowed from the start of Lockdown 3, by nearly a fifth in high streets and shopping centres, and by around a half in retail parks.

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