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Tier 4 restrictions lead to UK retail footfall drop of -39.9% in countdown to Christmas

Tom Bottomley
21 December 2020

The introduction of Tier 4 restrictions across much of the UK, including London and much of the East and South East, saw retail footfall drop -39.9% across all UK retail destinations on Sunday 20 December – when the new restrictions came in to force - compared to the previous Sunday.

Of the three destination types, the greatest drop from the previous Sunday occurred in shopping centres where footfall declined yesterday by -55.5%. In high streets it declined by -39.1%, and in retail parks by -25%, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

However, prior to the new draconian Tier 4 restrictions, footfall across all retail destinations throughout the UK actually rose +2.3% in the week from 13-19 December, 2020.

Across all retail destinations, footfall in Tier 4 is now 64.3% lower than in 2019. In shopping centres it’s -75.5%, in high streets its -71% and in retail parks it’s -38.1%.

The footfall results demonstrate clearly the impact that the tiered restrictions have, as footfall in Tier 1 destinations rose from the previous Sunday by +30.6%, while declining by -13.9% in Tier 2 and by -16.6% in Tier 3.

Comparing the result between Tiers 2 and 3 with Tier 4 demonstrates clearly the impact on footfall of the closure of non-essential retail stores.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “The government’s shock announcement on Saturday afternoon with the introduction of Tier 4 has led to drastic changes in retail footfall across the UK. The closure of non-essential retail in Tier 4 during what is usually the last, and busiest, week of Christmas trading will have a hugely detrimental impact on retailers who have already had a difficult year.

Store vacancies have risen in each quarter this year, and we anticipate that they will rise further in 2021 as some businesses will be forced to cease trading.”


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