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Heatwave boosts UK footfall until "Fiery Friday"

Tom Bottomley
20 June 2022

Footfall climbed 4.1% across all UK retail destinations last week, 12-18 June, compared to the week before, as shoppers were drawn out by the warm and sunny weather.

That was until so called ‘Fiery Friday’ – with temperatures hitting 34C (93.2F) in some areas – and ‘working from home’ impacting town centre foot traffic leading to a -1.2% drop.

Over all, week on week, high streets saw a 5% increase in footfall and, perhaps unsurprisingly, coastal towns experienced a significant 8.3% jump.

Footfall in shopping centres was also up 3.7%, as was footfall in retail parks - up 2.5% week on week, as both sheltered destinations benefitted when the rain hit on Saturday 18 June. Historic towns were worst impacted when the weather turned, seeing a -13.5% drop.

The week on week increase in footfall last week meant that the gap from the pre-pandemic 2019 footfall level narrowed slightly to -11.4% across all retail destinations, from -12.8% in the week before.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “The very hot weather was a dominant feature of last week, increasing footfall across UK retail destinations, but making high streets the choice for consumers until Friday. Inevitably, once the rain hit on Saturday it was the enclosed environments of shopping centres that became more appealing.

“All types of town centre benefitted from an uplift in footfall, but unsurprisingly coastal towns were particularly appealing to consumers. With the temperature peaking on Friday, the last day of the working week became a ‘work at home’ day for many, with footfall declining across most town types from the week before for the first time in the week, and a sharp contrast to the beginning of the week when there was a rise in footfall in all town types.”

However footfall is set to take a big hit this week, with predictions of a 10% drop in some locations, due to strikes on many major train networks and on the tube in London.

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