Footfall at standstill in July

Summer shoppers are staging a hesitant return to the High Street, with footfall levels down 28 per cent compared with July 2019.

According to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium, total UK footfall decreased by 28 per cent between 04 July-31 July 2021 compared to the same period 2 years ago.

As a result of lockdown-related closures in 2020, the British Retail Consortium is comparing 2021 data to 2019 in order to make meaningful comparisons.

Commenting on the figures, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:“After improvements in footfall in the early part of 2021, the situation has plateaued with little change in footfall levels for a third month in a row.”

She attributed the slowdown to turbulent weather, with initial heatwaves giving over to torrential rain, which she said appears to have dampened the mood for shopping in July, with a particularly pronounced fall in footfall at retail parks.

However, the last week of July offered a glimmer of hope for retailers as the easing of restrictions lead to the best weekly performance of 2021.

Dickinson added: “Retailers hope this trend will continue as the rise of vaccinations and falling coronavirus case numbers boosts consumer confidence”

However she warned that: “with the number of empty shopfronts still rising in many parts of the country, it is vital we rebuild our local communities to integrate leisure, retail, services, and homes. For this to be successful, Government must fulfil their commitment to alleviate the unsustainable cost burden placed on retailers by the broken rates system in their upcoming business rates review.”

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