Strong start for retail reopening with footfall surging by 155.2%

Yesterday footfall increased by 155.2 per cent as non-essential retail opened its doors for the first time in months.

Shopping centres saw a huge surge in visitors, with footfall rising by 225.2 per cent compared to the same day last week, according to research from Springboard.

Footfall on High Streets was slightly lower at 176.1 per cent, likely due to the cold weather.

The rise in footfall across retail parks was much more modest, increasing by 35.9 per cent compared to last Monday. But the level of activity in retail parks was higher than in High Streets and shopping centres prior to yesterday due to the presence of food stores.

Even with its smaller growth, on Monday footfall retail parks was still 7.8 per cent higher than on the same day in 2019.

Across all retail destinations footfall ended up at just 15.9 per cent lower than on the same Monday in 2019, a huge improvement on the weeks prior to the reopening.

In Central London, which has been hardest hit in terms of the loss of footfall during the pandemic, visitor numbers rose by 202.4 per cent compared to last week. This brought the annual result to a decline of 56 per cent from 2019, compared with an over 80 per cent drop during lockdown.

Regional cities outside London saw footfall strengthening, just 27.1 per cent below the 2019 level.

Many shoppers stayed local with an increase in footfall in market towns of 237.2 per cent, resulting in a drop from 2019 of only 6.8 per cent.

In retail destinations in the North & Yorkshire region footfall yesterday was only marginally below the 2019 level, with a decline of 0.8 per cent year on year.

“The first day of retail reopening was an amazingly positive result and one which finally offers retailers with some positive news,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director, Springboard. “The strong uplift highlights that consumer demand is higher than even forecasted and shows that bricks & mortar still holds a key position within the retail sector. With footfall in shopping centres rising by +225.2 per cent and on high streets by +155.2 per cent on the first day of trading, the sector can finally see a visible road to recovery after a difficult year.”

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