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UK footfall sees rise for fifth consecutive week despite Lockdown 3

Tom Bottomley
22 February 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by +6.8% last week, 14-20 February, from the week before, in what was the fifth consecutive week of uplift despite the national lockdown.

“Pent-up demand among shoppers” is a sign of what’s to come when non-essential retail can reopen, though half-term week no doubt played its part – particularly on footfall in Central London last week, which saw a huge rise of +23.6%.

The latest figures from retail experts Springboard come just hours ahead of the Prime Minister’s highly anticipated announcement for the roadmap out of lockdown later today.

The overall results for the week across all UK retail destinations were only a fifth less than the rise of +8.5% in the same week last year.

As in 2020, it was high streets that were the clear beneficiaries, with footfall increasing by +10.5%, a notable result as it was only marginally below the increase of +11.1% in the same week last year, when retail was trading normally.

Shopping centres did not fare as well, although footfall still rose by +4.5% (versus +9.8% last year), while in retail parks activity only rose marginally (by +1.2%) which was largely in line with the increase of +1.4% in the same week last year.

However, looking at the wider picture on a yearly basis, footfall across all UK retail destinations remains -62.1% lower than last year.

Footfall rose on all but one day last week across all UK retail destinations though, and on every day in high streets. In fact, the rises in activity in high streets last week were in double digits on four of the seven days, peaking at +26.7% on Monday.

Among the range of town centres, the increase in activity in Central London out shadowed other types of town, with footfall rising by a staggering +23.6% in Central London which, in combination with a +12.5% rise in outer London, meant that the average for high streets in the Greater London region was the second highest of any part of the UK.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “You could be fooled into thinking that last week was a normal half term week rather than in the eighth week of a national lockdown, as footfall continued to rise for the fifth consecutive week.

With the magnitude of increase continuing, this provides further evidence of significant pent-up demand among shoppers to visit retail destinations and it’s indication of the significant surge back to stores when non-essential retail reopens in the coming weeks or months.”

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