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Lockdown fatigue continues to see UK footfall rise despite Beast from the East 2

Tom Bottomley
15 February 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by +1.5% last week, 7-13 February, which followed a rise of +6.7% in the week before, signalling that lockdown fatigue is continuing to see more people venture out despite the harsh weather conditions brought about by the latest Beast from the East.

Footfall in high streets declined by -1.7%, however, there were rises of +3.9% in shopping centres and +6.1% in retail parks, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

With snow hitting the UK, footfall declined by an average of -7% between Sunday 7 and Tuesday 9 February, but this was compensated for by rises on each of the remaining four days, which averaged +7%.

Reflective of the pent-up demand among shoppers to venture out, and certainly contra to what would be expected in heavy snow conditions when shoppers tend to stay local, footfall in regional cities rose by +1.7% while in smaller market towns it declined by -1.4%.

The increases in footfall from week to week throughout the lockdown period are reflected in a reduction in the annual decline in footfall, which last week was -61.4% across all UK retail destinations.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Despite Beast from the East 2 hitting virtually all of the UK at some point last week, footfall across retail destinations continued to rise from the week before. The weather did impact high streets, but it was more than compensated for by increases in footfall in shopping centres and retail parks. Last week was the fourth consecutive week in which footfall has increased from the week before, delivering ever more evidence that shoppers are experiencing lockdown fatigue and are increasingly willing to travel to retail destinations, whatever the weather.

“In fact, in the seven weeks since Lockdown 3 came into effect on Boxing Day, the only declines have been in the first three weeks of the lockdown, which included the two weeks following Christmas when footfall typically drops anyway. The drop in footfall from the same week last year is now the lowest it's been since the second week of the lockdown.”

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