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UK footfall continues to rise ahead of one year anniversary of Lockdown 1

Tom Bottomley
22 March 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by +0.5% last week, 14-20 March, 2021, compared to the week before, according to retail experts Springboard.

It was “wholly driven by a +4% increase in high streets,” while footfall declined -2.3% in shopping centres and -4.4% in retail parks.

The overall rise in footfall is a big difference from the same week in 2020, when footfall dropped by -21.7% in advance of the first national lockdown on 23 March, 2020, when the government advised people to work from home and not to travel.

The decline last year means that the annual change of -40.8% last week looks more favourable than it has done since the summer of 2020, and significantly better than the annual result of -52.7% in the week before.  In contrast, the more relevant comparison with 2019 reveals an annual decline of -56.5%.

Footfall in every type of high street rose by at least +5% last week from the week before, reaching +7.8% in major city centres outside London. The impact of the easing of restrictions in Wales and schools returning in Scotland was evident, with increases in high street footfall in both nations of +17% and +19.4% respectively, versus just +3% in England.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “Footfall across UK retail destinations continued to strengthen last week, with a modest rise from the week before.  At the same time, the annual decline improved significantly but this is a distortion created by a huge drop in footfall in the same week last year as we approached the start of the first lockdown on Monday, 23 March, 2020.”

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