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Footfall drops -21.7% in a week due to COVID-19 impact

Tom Bottomley
24 March 2020

Springboard has revealed the impact of coronavirus on consumer activity before the non-essential retail shut-down came into effect today. Footfall from Sunday 15 to Saturday 21 March, 2020, declined by -21% compared to the previous week, and by -28% year-on-year.

The decline in retail footfall is three times greater than the worst recorded, with high streets hit hardest, showing a drop in footfall of -31% from the week before and -41% from the same week in 2019.

This result was unsurprising following the closure of many high street staples such as John Lewis and Topshop and will only get far worse now consumers are orders to stay and at home and all non-essential retail is shut down.

The panic buying of food and household essentials meant that in retail parks - where many large food stores are situated - footfall declined by only -2.9% on both a weekly and annual basis.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: “The decline in footfall week on week was on par with the drop normally only ever seen in the week post-Christmas. The annual change represented an unprecedented decline in retail footfall that was three times greater than the worst result we have ever previously recorded.”

Geographically, the drop in footfall was in excess of -20% in every area of the UK. Inevitably, London was hit hardest with an annual drop in footfall of -31.1% over the week.

It is no surprise that the annual drop in footfall in central London was far higher at a huge -63.3%, but with more residents working at home the decline in footfall in outer London was more modest at -21.9%.

Springboard is the leading provider of insights on bricks and mortar retail activity, tracking and forecasting footfall and delivering performance metrics across all key retail destination types at national and regional levels since 2002.

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