Warm weather prompts 8.5% footfall increase

Footfall across UK retail jumped by 8.5 per cent last week, fuelled primarily by the warm weather, according to research by Springboard.

The study found that High Street activity rose by 9 per cent, while retail parks saw an increase of 9.7 per cent.

Shopping centres saw a lower increase of 6.3 per cent, which the retail research company said was due to shoppers gravitating towards external environments to make the most of warm and sunny weather.

With higher temperatures in the south, the rise in footfall in Greater London and the South East and South West averaged 10.8 per cent, compared to 6.7 per cent elsewhere.

The research found that last week footfall was 68.1 per cent higher than the same week in 2020, but still 57.3 per cent lower than in 2019.

Over the Easter weekend footfall was down 7.6 per cent as a whole than over the same four days in the week before.

Footfall rose from the previous week in coastal and historic towns by 8.5 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, and also in Central London (5.8 per cent).

In all of these three town types there was a particularly significant uplift on Sunday, driven by the opportunity to meet up with friends and family in warm and sunny weather; on this one day footfall rose from the previous Sunday by 58.4 per cent in coastal towns, by 34.9 per cent in historic towns and by +54.1 per cent in Central London.

The cold weather on Monday impacted the overall result for the Easter weekend, with a drop in footfall on Monday from the week before of -20.2 per cent across all retail destinations, although footfall rose in retail parks by 8.7 per cent.

“With exceptional weather across most of the UK it was not a surprise that last week footfall rose across all retail destinations from the week before, and with the warmest weather occurring in the south it was unsurprising that this part of the UK that benefited the most,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director, Springboard. “Footfall rose across all three destination types, but external environments inevitably benefitted more than shopping centres where the rise in footfall was a third lower than in high streets and retail parks.

Wehrle added: “Following the anniversary of the start of Lockdown 1 in the week before, footfall last week was 1.5 times as great as it was in the same week in 2020, but still two thirds lower than in 2019.”

She said that the Easter weekend as a whole was “disappointing” but that it had been hampered by cold weather on Monday.

“Despite this, footfall was more than double that over Easter in 2020 although still more than a half lower than over Easter in 2019,” concluded the insights director.

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