Total UK footfall decreased by 27.7% in May compared with the same period in 2019, according to the latest British Retail Consortium -Sensormatic IQ data.
However, the decrease was above the three month average decline of 46.9%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, stated May saw footfall levels improve across the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.
This was in part due to the further easing of Covid restrictions, including the reopening of indoor hospitality, which “enticed” consumers back to shopping locations.
However, she relayed that restrictions on travel have denied many businesses, particularly those in larger towns and city centres, of vital overseas tourist spending.
She said: “The government should ring fence these lockdown rent debts to provide the breathing space for footfall and cash flows to recover, and enable landlords and tenants to work on equitable and long-term solutions for the future and avert terminal decline in many communities.”
Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “While still down compared to pre-pandemic levels, we’ve seen cautious but consistent improvement to footfall with each passing month as society unlocks and the vaccine roll-out continues at pace, giving retailers a cause for cautious optimism.
“However, the prospect of a sustained recovery is still very much hanging in the balance, with variants of concern and an uptick in infection rates threatening to undermine consumer confidence, and the final stage of unlocking far from a fait accompli.”