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Reopening week sees UK footfall jump +87.8%

Tom Bottomley
19 April 2021

Following the reopening of non-essential stores and outdoor hospitality on Monday 12 April, 2021, footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +87.8% last week compared to the week before.

Footfall rose by +126% in shopping centres, +93.2% in high streets and +35.3% in retail parks for the week 11-17 April, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

The substantial uplift in shopper activity last week means that footfall across all UK retail destinations is now just -25.4% lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic level, demonstrating the desire for bricks and mortar retail and shopping destinations is returning.

Reopening day on Monday 12 April delivered the greatest increase in footfall of any day last week at +151.8%, but the rise on each day was no lower than +69.7% (Tuesday), rising to +116.9% on Saturday.

The extent of the uplift last week means that the gap in footfall from 2019 across all UK retail destinations has narrowed by more than a half in a single week, reaching the level achieved after two months of trading following Lockdown 1 in 2020.

Footfall increased significantly in all types of high street, with the largest uplift of +120.4% in Central London and +116% in regional cities elsewhere in the UK.

However, the decline in footfall in cities has been greater than in smaller towns which means that the gap from 2019 still remains significant (-59.3% in Central London and -40.3% in regional cities outside of London).

In contrast, in outer London high streets, the rise in footfall from the week before was not as great at +66.1%, but their greater resilience means that the gap from 2019 is now only -20.4%. Likewise, in market towns, where footfall rose by +103.1% last week, the gap in footfall was narrowed from 2019 to 2021 to -19.5%.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “The first week of reopening delivered an outstanding performance for UK retail destinations and stores, with an increase in footfall from the week before that was virtually double our forecast. These results provide concrete evidence of the desire of shoppers to return to bricks and mortar stores and destinations. The key issue for retail destinations will be whether this momentum can be sustained.

“From our evidence of the last two lockdowns, we are expecting footfall to continue to increase over the next few weeks, albeit at a lesser rate. However, the reopening of indoor hospitality on 17 May will provide a further boost to retail destinations as many indoor venues are located in high streets and shopping centres.”

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