Mandatory face coverings spark ‘modest’ uplift in footfall

Footfall across all UK retail destinations saw a “modest” uplift last week, with footfall up by 2.8% against the week prior.

According to Springboard, this may have been boosted by the mandatory use of face coverings in shops, after footfall was up by 4.4% the weekend the rule was introduced. 

Footfall rose by 2.5% across all retail destinations in England last week, but saw a rise of 4% in every other UK nation.

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In high streets throughout the UK, footfall rose by 4.3% against the week prior. Shopping centres saw a rise of 1.2%, however, while footfall in retail parks was up by only 1.4%.  

According to Springboard, the week “started positively” on Sunday for UK high streets, which welcomed a rise of 6.1%. 

Due to the bad weather on Monday, high street footfall crashed by 15.7% against the week before. The decline was less severe in shopping centres and retail parks, however, which were down by 3.3% and 0.3% respectively. 

The “tables turned” in high street footfall as the week progressed, however. Between Tuesday and Saturday, footfall across UK high streets rose by an average of 7.9% against just 2.3% in shopping centres and 1.8% in retail parks. 

Wales benefited from the “most significant” uplift between Tuesday and Saturday, with a week-on-week rise over those five days of 14.8% against the 7.1% rise recorded in England.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The first week of the mandatory wearing of face coverings in retail stores in England did not deliver the hoped for uplift in footfall, with a rise over the week across the UK that was virtually half of that in the week before.”

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