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Footfall rises across UK despite “rule of six”

Tom Bottomley
21 September 2020

Footfall rose by +2.4% across UK retail destinations last week - between 13-19 September, 2020, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard, despite it being the first full week of the new “rule of six” being in force in the wake of rising coronavirus cases.

The new government rule, relating to the maximum people count of groups allowed to gather outdoors, appeared not to dent consumer confidence to make trips to bricks and mortar destinations as high streets saw a rise of +5.2%. However, footfall in shopping centres declined -0.8%, and by -0.3% in retail parks.

The range of results across the different types of high street suggests that the UK made the most of the warm weekend weather as market towns, which have been benefiting from consumers shopping more locally, saw a rise in footfall of +1.5%, while historic towns saw a +7.3% increase and coastal towns were up +4.4%.

Central London footfall also rose by +6%, but despite the improved performance footfall in the capital remains 56.1% lower than last year, versus 45.3% lower in regional cities and 22.6% lower in market towns.

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard, commented: “After the first week of the ‘rule of six’, retail footfall bounced back after last week’s first decrease in footfall since mid-April.

“However, unlike last year when footfall also rose in this week, the increase in footfall was wholly driven by high streets, while footfall in both retail parks and shopping centres declined from the week before.

“The fact that Central London recorded the second highest uplift of any high street type after historic town centres, while the rise in footfall in market towns was the most modest, suggests that consumers were making the most of the last days of summer to travel further afield to enjoy the great weather.”

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