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High street footfall plummets amid rain and storms
09 March 2020

High street footfall plummeted last month as dismal weather and storms caused shoppers to stay at home, according to new figures.

Severe and ongoing rain caused high street footfall to dive 7.8% in February, according to the latest Springboard Footfall Monitor.

The survey suggested more modest decline in retail parks and shopping centres highlighted the coronavirus outbreak was not the major factor in overall footfall decline.

Springboard said the increased severity of the outbreak in recent days means it is likely it will stem shopping activity in March.

In February, shopping centres reported a 2.5% slump in footfall on the back of a resilient performance by larger centres.

Elsewhere, retail park footfall declined by just 1.1% after a stronger performance in January.

Springboard said the impending impact of coronavirus means the current quarter is expected to be another challenging period for already pressurised UK retailers.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “The resilience of retail parks and shopping centres demonstrates that coronavirus did not have a noticeable impact on footfall in February – if Covid-19 had been a significant factor then it is likely that all three destination types would have been impacted more equally.

“However, the month ended before the warning of its increased severity in the UK was made and so moving forward it is likely that shopper activity will be stemmed as consumers become more wary about interacting in public spaces.

“Whilst it seems that the first quarter of 2020 will yield yet more challenges for bricks and mortar retailers, experience has proven that footfall bounces back quickly once the immediate period of concern has passed.”

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