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UK footfall drops following school half term week boost

Tom Bottomley
07 November 2022

UK footfall across all retail destinations dropped by -7.5% last week, 30 October – 5 November 2022, following a rise of +8.2% in the week before when it was given a boost by the school half term holiday.

High streets saw the biggest drop off with a fall of -10% last week compared to the week before, while footfall in shopping centres declined by -7.7% and retail parks saw a more modest dip of -1.8%.

Additionally, Central London saw footfall plummet by -13.1%, while footfall in coastal and historic towns dropped by -24% and -15.6% respectively last week, following boosts in activity from trips made during the half term holiday week of +18.2% and +10.8% respectively.

Footfall declined across most the UK last week, with drops ranging from -3.8% in Scotland to -12.5% in the South West. The only places where footfall rose were Wales (+0.4%) and Northern Ireland (+7.2%).

The footfall gap also widened from pre-pandemic 2019 to -9.8% last week from -9% in the week before last. However, there was a footfall uplift from 2021 – increasing to +5.2% last week from +3.2% in the week before, though that was the third smallest annual increase yet.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “With schools returning after the half term holiday, footfall in UK retail destinations dipped noticeably last week on the back of a strong comparable in the week before last.

“The gap from the 2019 footfall level widened last week from the week before last, indicating that the drop in footfall in the week post half term this year was more severe than it had been in the same week pre-Covid. However, on a positive note, the uplift from 2021 increased last week from the week before last, reflecting that footfall remains on a path of recovery, albeit that this was the third most modest annual increase yet.

“Activity declined across three key destination types, but by far the largest drops in footfall occurred in high streets and shopping centres, as they recorded the largest rises in the week before last. Retail parks recorded only a marginal drop in footfall as the week was bookended by trips by consumers over each weekend, most likely to replenish food and groceries.

“Inevitably, the types of towns that recorded the greatest increases in footfall in the week before last - coastal and historic towns and Central London - all recorded the greatest drops last week. At a broader geographic level, footfall declined in all but two areas of the UK, with double digit drops in the South East and the South West.”

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