Footfall across UK retail destinations declined by -23.2% last week from the previous week, Springboard shows

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Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that post- Christmas, footfall across UK retail destinations declined by -23.2% last week from the previous week, with the biggest drop seen in shopping centres by -31.8% with drops in high streets (-21.9%) and retail parks (-16.8%).

As the covid-10 pandemic continues into 2021, footfall across the UK as a whole was 55.7% lower than in the same week last year; 64.6% lower in high streets, 60% lower in shopping centres and 31.9% lower in retail parks. The impact of tightened government restrictions post Christmas is highly apparent, with footfall in Tier 4 locations 72.2% lower than last year, whilst only 33.9% lower in Tier 3 locations.

Springboard data highlights that footfall in Scotland and Northern Ireland plummeted last week as these two nations entered lockdowns, with a drop from the week before of -58% in Scotland and -74.4% in Northern Ireland.  Footfall in Wales only dropped marginally over the week (by -8.6%) but it had undergone a far larger decline in footfall of -59.7% in the week before when it entered its own lockdown.  In each of the three nations, the annual decline in footfall last week was greater than in England (-68% in Scotland, -70.3% in Wales and -78.3% in Northern Ireland, versus -53.4% in England).

With the ‘stay home, stay local’ message back in force in the New Year, it is unsurprising that the greatest loss of footfall from last year continues to occur in London and large city centres across the UK, where last week it was 81.8% lower than in the same week last year. Smaller towns continue to be more resilient, although declines in footfall are still significant with an annual decline in footfall of -59.3% in coastal towns, -69.6% in historic towns and -63.2% in market towns.  However, last week London was the only place where footfall actually rose from the week before – by +2.5% in Central London – possibly a result of Londoners using the post Christmas week to explore the City whilst it is thought to be quieter. 

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: “The end of the festive trading period and tightened government restrictions unsurprisingly saw footfall in UK retail destinations drop significantly at the end of 2020. Moving into a new year, with the extension of Tier 4 across virtually all of England and lockdowns in place in the devolved nations, retailers are unlikely to see any respite until restrictions are eased in the coming weeks or months.

“We know from our experience of retail reopening in June 2020 that until the widespread roll out of the vaccine, retail footfall will remain significantly below the pre Covid level.”

Week beginning 27/12/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
UK High Streets-64.6%-21.9%
UK Retail Parks-31.9%-16.8%
UK Shopping Centres-60.0%-31.8%
All UK Destinations-55.7%-23.2%
Week beginning 27/12/2020 (Sunday to Saturday) – All UK Retail Destinations
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
East-62.2%-38.5%
East Midlands-48.9%-21.7%
Greater London-67.7%-3.6%
Northern Ireland-38.1%-16.9%
North & Yorkshire-68.0%-58.0%
Scotland-61.3%-27.8%
South East-38.0%-13.1%
South West-70.3%-8.6%
Wales-47.5%-17.7%
West Midlands-78.3%-74.4%
Week beginning 27/12/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
England-53.4%-17.6%
Wales-70.3%-8.6%
Scotland-68.0%-58.0%
Northern Ireland-78.3%-74.4%
Week beginning 27/12/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
Central London-87.3%2.5%
Coastal Towns-59.3%-20.3%
Historic Towns-69.6%-27.8%
Market Towns-63.2%-29.4%
Outer London-63.7%-11.8%
Regional Cities-81.8%-17.4%
Regional Cities excl London-72.2%-29.8%
Week beginning 27/12/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
Tier 2-18.9%-14.4%
Tier 3-33.9%65.7%
Tier 4-72.2%27.5%
Note: Tier 2 up to 30th December only as Tier 2 locations moved into Tier 3