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UK footfall drops in Lockdown 3

Tom Bottomley
11 January 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations declined by -27% last week – from 3 – 9 January, 2021 – compared to the week before, which follows a drop of -23.2% in the previous week, as the impact of Lockdown 3 and the enforced closure of non-essential retail takes grip.

Footfall declined by -35% in shopping centres, by -26% in high streets and -21.3% in retail parks compared to the week before, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

Despite the plea from the government for people across the UK to “stay home to save lives,” the footfall results varied by geography. In the South West, the East and West Midlands and North & Yorkshire the decline in footfall from the week before exceeded -35% and reached over -40% in the East Midlands and the South West.

However, in the South East and Greater London, which have the highest coronavirus infection rates, footfall only declined by -8% and -10.7% respectively. That was driven by outer London areas where the drop in footfall was only -6.8% versus -25.9% in Central London.

Despite that, the drop in footfall in Central London was still noticeably less than in regional cities outside of the capital where footfall declined by -39.6%. 

In Wales and Northern Ireland footfall actually rose from the week before (by +10% in Wales and by +27.1% in Northern Ireland), although despite these increases footfall in both nations remains two thirds lower than last year.

On a year-on-year basis, footfall across all UK retail destinations declined by -63.8%, and by -70.2% in high streets, -71.3% in shopping centres and -42% in retail parks.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “During the first full working week of 2021 and the introduction of Lockdown 3, the reduction in footfall across UK retail destinations from the week before was nearly as great as that during early November when England entered Lockdown 2.

“The decline in footfall from last year is now around the same level as before non-essential retail stores reopened following Lockdown 1 in June, 2020.”

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