Warm weather bank holiday and half-term sees UK footfall soar

Retail shopping footfall

Footfall across all UK retail destinations jumped +11.6% last week, 30 May-5 June 2021, compared to the week previous.

Warm weather, the end of May bank holiday and half-term week were all cited in playing their part in the rise by retail data experts Springboard.

High streets saw a rise of +17.4%, shopping centres +8.7% and retail parks a more modest +2.3%.

In coastal and historic town centres the uplift in activity was significantly greater, at +37.1% in coastal towns and +24.8% in historic towns.

As visitors flocked to resorts, the south-west benefitted, with a rise in footfall that was greater than in any other part of the UK at +18.8% overall, and +30.8% in high streets.

Large city centres also benefitted, with an increase in footfall in Central London of +23.8%, and +19.3% in city centres elsewhere in the UK. That meant the gap in footfall from 2019 narrowed to -39.5% in Central London and just -12.9% in regional cities across the UK, the most modest annual decline in footfall since before the pandemic.

Some visitors stayed local, and the increases in footfall were more modest at +10.4% in outer London and +9.7% in market towns across the UK.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “A combination of the late May bank holiday, incredible weather and the school half term holiday had a hugely beneficial effect on customer activity in UK retail destinations last week; it not only led to the greatest weekly increase in footfall since the reopening of non-essential retail in April, but also the most modest annual decline since the start of the pandemic.

“Inevitably visitors wanted to be outside to enjoy the weather, so by far the greatest benefit was seen by high streets, where the rise in footfall from the week before was double that in shopping centres, and eight times that in retail parks.

“Staycations clearly fuelled an increase in footfall in coastal towns which surpassed that in any other type of high street, and a rise in footfall in high streets in the south-west that was nearly double the increase in high streets across the UK and in Greater London.

“The fact that the bank holiday occurred a week earlier than in the previous two years, meant that footfall in both coastal and historic towns was actually higher last week than in the same week in 2019. While the attraction of coastal and historic towns to visitors meant they benefitted the most last week, there was still a significant rise in footfall in Central London and in other regional cities across the UK, whilst the most modest increases once again occurred in more local high streets.”