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UK footfall +68.1% higher than the first week of Lockdown 1

Tom Bottomley
29 March 2021

UK footfall across all UK destinations was +68.1% higher last week – 21-27 March, 2021, than in the same week in 2020, in what was the anniversary of the first week of Lockdown 1, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

However, footfall remained -57.3% lower than in the same week in 2019, a year before the first lockdown was put in place.

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose +6.6% last week compared to the week before, with retail parks seeing the most significant rise of +9% (compared to a decline in footfall of -4.4% two weeks ago), as shoppers refreshed their gardens in readiness for being able to meet friends and family outdoors.

Footfall in shopping centres also shifted upward, from a drop of -2.3% two weeks ago to a rise of +4.3% last week, and footfall in high streets was up +6.6% from the week before, that following a +4% rise from the previous week.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “Following the anniversary of the start of the lockdown on Monday 22 March, footfall across UK retail destinations last week was higher than it was in the same week in 2020, but still much lower than in the same week in 2019, before the pandemic. Despite the significant gap in activity levels from 2019, footfall once again rose last week from the week before as it has done so in eight of the past nine weeks.

“However, the uplift was much larger last week, and this was primarily a result of far greater footfall in retail parks and shopping centres, with the rise in retail parks most likely due to shoppers upgrading their gardens in advance of the relaxation of restrictions this week.”

As restrictions are relaxed, together with the warm weather forecast for much of the UK, Springboard predict that footfall will increase noticeably in the week ahead, possibly by as much as 15%. This will narrow the gap slightly between this year and 2019, but a big gulf will still exist which can only start to be bridged in a meaningful way when non-essential stores and outdoor hospitality reopen on 12 April.

Once retail reopens, Springboard anticipate that footfall will rise by around 48% from the week before, with a further rise of around +10% in the following week.

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