Footfall suffers despite June reopening

Footfall in June saw a “significant improvement” against the 73.3% decline reported in May, but was still less than half the level of last year, with an annual decline of 56.6%.

According to the latest figures from Springboard, footfall fell by 65.1% in high streets and 62.3% in shopping centres, while retail parks proved to be the “most resilient” with a decline of 32.2% against the year prior.

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The first week of the reopening of retail stores in England and Northern Ireland was a “turning point”, however, with footfall rising by 40% against the week prior.

This boost “catapulted” the annual footfall decline to 50% in the second half of the month.

Despite the “huge spike” in footfall seen on the week of reopening, the subsequent two weeks saw footfall slow down “considerably”, to 6.6% and 2.4%, respectively.

In its latest report, Springboard also warned that footfall in high streets and shopping centres will continue to be “compromised” due to the fact that a “large proportion” of  shoppers, workers, students, tourists and residents are still absent. 

This was highlighted most clearly in Central London, where footfall remains 80.8% lower than last year.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Insights director, said: “The pent up anticipation to shop after more than three months of closure resulted in a huge spike in footfall in the week of re-opening, however footfall in the subsequent two weeks slowed considerably, from 6.6% in the first week after reopening to 2.4% in the second week. 

“Long queues coupled with a restricted shopping experience due to social distancing could be the contributing factors to this sudden drop off in footfall. This is concerning for the economic recovery path of bricks and mortar retail who are heavily reliant on customer experience.” 

She added: “The fact that much of the workforce continues to work from home, tourists and many students are absent, as well as the government urging consumers to only use public transport for essential travel, means that footfall and therefore sales, will continue to be compromised in high streets and shopping centres.  

“This is highlighted most clearly in the results for Central London, which has the highest footfall volume of any part of the UK and, where despite footfall rising by 40.9% in the week that retail reopened, it remains 80.8% lower than last year.”

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