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UK footfall plateaus despite supply warnings

Tom Bottomley
18 October 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations declined marginally by -0.7% last week, 10-16 October, 2021, and remained flat in high streets despite warnings of supply issues in the lead up to Christmas.

Footfall in retail parks dropped -1.5% and footfall in shopping centres decreased by -1.6%, and the declines in both were widespread – in all but one UK geography, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

Meanwhile footfall in Central London rose +2.7%, and in regional cities +2.1%, indicating the return to the office continues to accelerate.

The fact that footfall did not change much last week from the week before meant that the gap from the 2019 level shifted only slightly, to -14% across all destination types last week, from -13.5% the week before.

However, UK footfall last week was +28.1% higher than in the same week in 2020, which was a strong improvement from +24.5% in the week before.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “Last week UK footfall was flat in high streets, but small declines in activity in both retail parks and shopping centres suggests that discussions in the media around the impact of supply issues on the availability of Christmas products have not yet impacted consumer behaviour.

“In parallel, indications are that the trickle back to the office is accelerating, with footfall in both outer London and market towns – locations where resilient activity levels are synonymous with home working - declining from the week before, while rising in Central London and regional cities outside the capital.”

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