UK retail footfall remains resilient despite Lockdown 2 restrictions

Retail footfall

UK retail footfall rose by an average of +13.2% between Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 November compared to the same three days the week before when lockdown started, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

The research indicates that, rather than restricting movement outside of their homes, by the second half of last week shoppers had started to return to retail destinations undeterred by Lockdown 2.

Despite the closure of all non-essential stores and hospitality, which account for the vast majority of stores in high streets and shopping centres, there were significant rises in footfall from last Thursday onwards across all three destination types, up +10.1% in high streets, +14.1% in shopping centres and +18.7% in retail parks.

However, footfall across UK retail destinations last week was -57.7% lower than the same week in 2019, -64.7% lower in high streets and -65.7% lower in shopping centres, but just -34.3% lower in retail parks.

But footfall is demonstrably more resilient than it was in the first complete week of lockdown in March, 2020, when it dropped by -75.1% across all UK retail destinations, around -79% in both high streets and shopping centres and -61% in retail parks.

Following the end of the two-week lockdown in Wales, footfall in its retail destinations rose by a staggering +135.9% last week from the week before.

The data reinforces the findings of the Springboard-AL marketing “Unwrapping Christmas with Covid-19” report, which identified that 69% of shoppers intend to start their Christmas shopping earlier this year in case of long queues and COVID-19 restrictions.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s Insight Director, said: “The first complete week of Lockdown 2 drove footfall down across UK retail destinations, although the decline wasn’t nearly as severe as it was in Lockdown 1, or indeed as comprehensive.

“The fact that footfall is more resilient may well be a function of the proximity of Christmas, and the concern of shoppers to buy well in advance this year to avoid queues, facilitated by the wide range of non-food products offered in stores selling essential goods.

“In the second half of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, footfall was significantly higher than on the same three days in the previous week, which were the first three days of the lockdown, indicating that as the week progressed shoppers began to make trips out of their homes.

“This reinforces the concern about the likely rebound in activity following the end of the lockdown, highlighted by the unprecedented increase in footfall recorded in Wales following the end of the two-week lockdown.”

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