Footfall one-third lower than pre-covid levels

April footfall saw significant growth but was still nearly a third lower than pre-covid levels, according to new research.

Figures from Springboard show that last month the number of retail visitors was 32.7 per cent lower than in 2019.

This was improvement on March data, which demonstrated a 55.2 per cent decline compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Footfall declined from 2019 by 41.5 per cent in High Streets, 39 per cent in shopping centres, and 7.4 per cent in retail parks.

On the High Street the annual decline moved from 65.1 per cent in week one of April to an average decrease of 32.3 per cent between weeks two and four.

In shopping centres the decline moved from 67.8 per cent in the first seven days, to an average of 27.7 per cent between weeks two and four.

While in retail parks there was a decline of 25.8 per cent in week one compared to 2019, which dropped to an average 0.9 per cent between weeks two and four.

The retail intelligence company said that the results reflect its prediction for a substantial boost to footfall following the retail reopening and is “evidence of significant pent up consumer demand for bricks and mortar stores.”

This demand is also echoed in the UK store vacancy rate with strengthened marginally in April to 11.5 per cent from 11.7 per cent in January.

“Over the month as a whole footfall was 32.7 per cent lower than the 2019, pre-pandemic level, compared with 55.2 per cent in March, but this underestimates the substantial impact that reopening had on activity in bricks and mortar stores,” said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director, Springboard. “With the imminent opening of indoor hospitality in the next two weeks, we are anticipating that the gap between the level of footfall in 2019 and 2021 will narrow further, although the extent to which this occurs will be a function of the degree to which there is a return to office working, the growth in both domestic and overseas tourism in the UK and the impact on employment of the end of the furlough scheme in September.”

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