Footfall across UK retail destinations declines -9.3% last week, Springboard reports

Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across UK retail destinations declined last week from the week before by -9.3%, with the greatest drops in high streets -10.9% and shopping centres -11.6%, versus a drop of -3.1% in retail parks.

The decline in footfall averaged -11.7% between Monday and Friday compared with -3.1% over the first and last days of the week (Sunday and Saturday), reflecting the greater gains in footfall made in the week before last during the working week which averaged +15.5%, versus +1.9% on Sunday and Saturday.

Across the range of town types, inevitably it was those who are attractive to tourists that recorded the greatest drops in footfall from the week before; footfall declined by -20.7% in coastal towns, – 15.1% in historic towns and -16.6% in regional cities. However, the return to work meant that there was a noticeably smaller decline in Springboard’s ‘Back to the Office Benchmark’ where footfall dropped by -9.7% versus -15.7% across Central London as a whole.

The blend of office and home working continues to be evident in UK footfall, with declines in footfall in Outer London and Market towns of -7.1% and -8.1% versus drops of -15.7% in Central London and – 16.6% in regional cities outside of the capital. The drop back in footfall last week meant that the gap from the 2019 level widened once again, to – 13.4% versus -10.9% in the week before. The uplift from 2020 increased by nearly a third to +43.4% from +34.8% in the week of October half term, clearly demonstrating the adverse impact that Covid- 19 had on retail last year.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “Footfall in UK retail destinations fell back sharply last week, eliminating virtually all the uplift gained in the week before last during the school October half term break.

“However, it is important to appreciate that this was an expected result, as footfall has dropped in the week post the October half term break in every year since Springboard starting publishing footfall benchmarks in 2009.

“With high streets and shopping centres recording the largest gains during the half term week, it was in these two destination types where footfall declined most with double-digit drops. The fall back to the pre half term footfall level was not specific to any particular area, with all UK geographies recording declines.

“The impact of those returning to work last week after the half term break was clear to see, although it seems the hybrid of office and home working is still very much established. The drop in Springboard’s Back to the Office footfall benchmark was two thirds of that in Central London as a whole, at the same time the decline in footfall in Outer London and Market towns – which are synonymous with home working – was half that in large city centres across the UK.”

Week beginning 31/10/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)
Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2020Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2019Week on week % change in footfall
All UK Destinations43.4%-13.4%-9.3%
UK High Streets57.1%-15.1%-10.9%
UK Retail Parks17.2%-1.9%-3.1%
UK Shopping Centres40.1%-20.7%-11.6%
Week beginning 31/10/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)
Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2020Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2019Week on week % change in footfall
East33.0%-11.9%-11.0%
East Midlands35.2%-18.1%-6.5%
Greater London49.4%-9.4%-8.2%
North & Yorkshire37.2%-14.4%-9.8%
Scotland22.9%-20.7%-4.3%
South East36.6%-9.1%-8.7%
South West41.1%-8.2%-12.1%
Wales274.9%-14.7%-13.2%
West Midlands36.6%-13.7%-3.0%
Northern Ireland34.8%-13.4%-16.5%
Week beginning 31/10/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)
Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2020Year on year % change in footfall – 2021 vs 2019Week on week % change in footfall
Coastal Towns27.7%-15.5%-20.7%
Historic Towns54.0%-9.1%-15.1%
Regional Cities98.8%-19.4%-16.6%
Central London123.4%-20.4%-15.7%
Outer London30.8%-10.2%-7.1%
Market Towns32.9%-14.1%-8.1%
Regional Cities Ex London79.7%-19.8%-16.4%
CL “Back to the Office”106.1%-22.1%-9.7%