Strengthening footfall will be ‘short lived’ after energy prices soar

UK footfall improved last month to 13.2 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, according to research from Springboard.

This was an improvement on July’s figures, which revealed that number of people shopping on the UK’s High Streets, retail parks and shopping centres was 14.2 per cent lower than in 2019, weakening from the -12.3 per cent recorded in June.

The August figures were better than expected as inflation continued to rise during the month.

But the retail analytics company warned that August’s buoyancy would likely be “short-lived” in anticipation of austerity due to the upcoming energy price hike in October.

“UK footfall in August at -13.2 per cent below 2019 was better than anticipated given the recent rise in inflation and the impending impact on households of the increase in energy costs, so it seems that the headlines around the increasing cost of living are not yet deterring people from spending,” said Diane Wehrle, marketing & insights director. “Indeed, the continuous heat in August clearly encouraged people to take staycations which fuelled activity in retail destinations."

She added: “Also many consumers took a much longed for and deferred summer holiday during August - many of which will have been paid for last year or even the year before - driving pre-holiday spending, and creating what might be seen as the “last hurrah” before the rise in the energy price cap kicks in during October.”

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