Footfall sees ‘most modest’ decline since lockdown

Footfall rose by 4.5% last week against the week prior, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

The group said this rise was largely driven by high streets and shopping centres, where footfall rose by 6.8% and 4.7%, respectively, while slipping 0.7% in retail parks. 

While this recorded rise was “not as significant as hoped”, it still reduced the year-on-year decline to 40.2%, the “most modest” decline recorded since the start of the lockdown.

Last week, footfall peaked on Wednesday and Thursday, where the rise in footfall averaged 9.9%. Weekend footfall was “far more modest”, averaging 1.3%. 

The results by nation demonstrated the “positive effect” of easing restrictions, with footfall in Scotland and Wales rising by 21.7% and 15.6% against the week prior, respectively. 

In Scotland’s shopping centres, which opened for the first time last week, footfall rose by a “staggering” 66.7%, while footfall in Welsh high streets rose by 27.5%. 

In the capital and other large cities, footfall rose by 15% over the week, more than double the rate of increase across all UK high streets.

Nonetheless, the gap between last year and this year remains “far greater”, with an annual decline of 71.3% in Central London.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Last week demonstrated that the longed for flood of shoppers returning to bricks and mortar destinations and retail stores once again became a trickle, with a week on week rise in footfall that was less than half that in the previous week. 

“Despite the limited rise in footfall, the year on year result is at its most modest yet, which does provide a glimmer of hope for the struggling retail industry.”

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