Footfall picks up as shoppers anticipate eased restrictions

Footfall across UK retail destinations jumped by 6.6 per cent last week compared to the previous one, which saw a marginal rise of 0.5 per cent.

Last week, the anniversary of the first lockdown, footfall was 68 per cent higher than the same week in 2020.

But footfall remained 57.3 per cent lower than the same week in 2019, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

The research found that footfall on High Streets continued to steadily increase, rising by 6.6 per cent from the week before, following a 4 per cent rise in the previous week.

The most significant difference was in retail parks and shopping centres.

Retail parks saw a decline in footfall of 4.4 per cent two weeks ago. But last week they saw a rise of 9 per cent.

This was largely due to shoppers preparing for Monday's eased restrictions, which allow up to six people meeting outdoors or in gardens, with outdoor and garden purchases.

Footfall in shopping centres also grew, from a 2.3 per cent decline two weeks ago to a rise of 4.3 per cent last week.

Springboard predicts that with forecasted warm weather and relaxed restrictions, footfall will increase significantly in the week ahead, possibly by as much as 15 per cent.

Once retail reopens, Springboard expects footfall to rise by around 48 per cent from the previous week, with a further rise of roughly 10 per cent in the following week.

“Following the anniversary of the start of the lockdown on Monday 22nd March, footfall across UK retail destinations last week was higher than it was in the same week in 2020 but still much lower than in the same week in 2019, before the pandemic,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director, Springboard. “Despite the significant gap in activity levels from 2019, footfall once again rose last week from the week before as it has done so in eight of the past nine weeks.

She added: "However, the uplift was much larger last week, and this was primarily a result of far greater footfall in retail parks and shopping centres; the rise in retail parks most likely due to shoppers upgrading their gardens in advance of the relaxation of restrictions this week.”

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