Trading “rollercoaster” for retailers in December

Retail footfall

Retailers across all UK shopping destinations had a “trading rollercoaster” in the five weeks from 29 November 2020 – 2 January 2021, as varying tier restrictions and lockdowns played their part, according to retail intelligence experts Springboard.

Footfall strengthened in December dropping by -41.9%, compared with -51.2% in November when England was subject to Lockdown 2.

On high streets, footfall declined by -50.8%, while footfall in shopping centres plunged by -45.6%. Retail parks – with the majority benefitting from hosting food stores – saw a more modest drop of -18.7%.

Footfall declined by -31.5% in the second and third weeks of December following the end of Lockdown 2, but worsened to -50% in the final two weeks following further Tier 4 restrictions in the penultimate trading week.

On Boxing Day, traditionally the most important trading day for retailers kickstarting their Sales, footfall was -60% lower than on Boxing Day 2019.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “December brought an end to a year where we have recorded declines in footfall of a magnitude never before seen in our recorded data. Over the 10 months since March, the decline in footfall averaged -47.4%, and the result for December of -41.9% is in line with this average.

Footfall during December as a whole improved from November in all three destination types, however, the month can only be described as a month of two halves which was a trading rollercoaster for retailers.

“Footfall improved at the beginning of the month when Lockdown 2 ended but was sharply curtailed by further Tier 4 restrictions imposed across a large number of UK destinations during the penultimate trading week of the year.

“A new year brings yet another lockdown which will be a further blow to non-essential retail, but with a renewed optimism that bricks and mortar will bounce back in the summer as consumers will be eager to get out again and spend.”

Newsletter banner