UK footfall bounces back from Storms Dudley and Eunice
Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by 11.1% last week, 20-26 February, compared to the week before when it dropped by -3.8%, signalling a big bounce back following Storms Dudley and Eunice in the previous week.
The rise was emanated by Friday and Saturday footfall which averaged +43.3% higher than the week before, helped by the sunny weather, compared with an average decline of -22.3% over the same two days in the previous week when footfall was heavily impacted by Storm Eunice.
Footfall rose by 15.5% in high streets, by +9.6% in shopping centres and by +3.3% in retail parks last week compared to the week before, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.
Footfall also rose in all town types last week, with a rise of +17% in Central London and +20.3% in Springboard's ‘Back to the Office benchmark’, indicating more workers are returning to the office following the government’s removal of COVID restrictions.
However, in city centres outside of the capital the increase was lower at +10% and only +0.4% over the four days from Monday to Thursday, versus +7.2% over the four days in Central London, indicating that footfall in London last week was likely to have been boosted by half term family trips.
Despite the volatility in footfall day to day last week, the overall increase meant that the gap from the pre-pandemic 2019 level narrowed noticeably to -17.2% from a much wider -26.3% in the week before, although the uplift from 2021 only improved marginally to +123.9% from +122.4% in the previous week.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Footfall across UK retail destinations bounced back in overall terms last week from the severe impact of the storms in the previous week. However, this was wholly due to a recovery in footfall on Friday and Saturday, which was undoubtedly helped by the dry sunny weather on these two days, but also due to exceptionally low comparables in the week before due to the impact on footfall because of Storms Dudley and Eunice.
“The return of employees to their offices appears to be continuing, with a rise in footfall last week in Central London and in Springboard's ‘Back to the Office benchmark’, which tracks activity in areas of Central London that are in close proximity to offices. However, it is likely that a large proportion of the uplift in Central London will have been driven by half term family trips to the capital as footfall in regional cities across the UK between Monday and Thursday increased only very marginally.”