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Retail footfall down 15% on two years ago in "first step" of recovery
13 April 2021

Total customer footfall on the day non-essential retail reopened in England was down 15% on two years ago, new figures show.

However that is a significant improvement on March, when total UK footfall was down 68.7% on two years ago, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said. Week-on-week statistics show a 266.50% increase.

The latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ figures, which compare footfall on Monday April 12 2021 with Monday April 15 2019, show shopping centre customers were down 32.7%, retail park numbers were 19.4% lower and high streets were down 28.8%.

Further comparisons with the month of March two years ago show footfall on high streets declined by 64.6%, comparing favourably with the three-month average fall of 67.9%.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 36.8% on two years ago, a decline of 2.3 percentage points compared with the previous month, but marginally above the three-month average decline of 38.8%.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 73.2% on March 2019 against the three-month average decline of 76.2%.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said: “While footfall may not yet have returned to pre-pandemic levels, retailers have been glad to welcome customers back into stores on high streets, and in retail parks and shopping centres.

It’s great to see everyone playing their part in making the shopping experience a positive one for everyone, with retailers going the extra mile to make sure queues are managed well, social distancing is maintained, and face coverings are worn.

“Yesterday was the first step in the recovery of both retail and the wider economy.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Yesterday we saw shoppers voting with their feet, with footfall rising three times that of last Monday across all retail settings.

“Whilst that’s encouraging, high street footfall was still down 28.8% compared to the same day in 2019, underpinning the need for a sustained bounce-back in fuelling retail’s long-term recovery. Retailers need to see shoppers returning beyond just pent-up demand.

“The public has shown great support for bricks-and-mortar retail, with recovering visitor counts rebounding after each unlocking in the last year, so the real test now comes in sustaining that demand.”

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