Footfall at retail destinations impact by heatwave, Springboard reports

The heatwave has caused significant drops in footfall in London with a fall of -18.1% recorded on Springboard’s “Back to the Office” benchmark.

The data shows footfall across UK destinations up to 11am today compared to last week. Across all UK high streets footfall today is down -7.3%. High streets in coastal towns have seen a surge of footfall by 9.0%.

Week on week % change in footfall – up to 11am on  Monday 18th July
 High StreetsRetail ParksShopping CentresAll Destinations
East Midlands-4.5%-9.1%-5.2%-5.8%
Greater London-13.9%-6.2%-6.6%-10.2%
North & Yorkshire-4.4%3.5%6.7%0.3%
South East-1.3%-6.3%-4.6%-3.3%
South West-0.3%1.5%-13.9%-3.3%
West Midlands-11.9%3.1%-5.7%-6.8%
Central London “Back to the Office” Benchmark-18.1%
Central London-16.1%
Coastal Towns9.0%
Historic Towns-9.0%
Market Towns-3.5%
Outer London-12.4%
Regional Cities-11.5%
Regional Cities Excl London-10.5%
UK exc. Regional Cities-9.5%

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The extreme heat occurring today and tomorrow was already impacting footfall in UK retail destinations over the period up to 11am on Monday morning.  Typically when the weather hot and sunny, shoppers gravitate to outdoor locations, and so footfall in high streets tends to increase while decreasing in shopping centres.  However, with the extreme heat today the reverse has occurred, with a drop in footfall in high streets of -7.3% over the period up to 11am on Monday, while in both shopping centres and retail parks – both of which offer air conditioned environments – footfall rose by +1.6% and +1.3% respectively.

“The impact on high streets is demonstrated even more clearly by looking at footfall in different types of town across the UK; in city centres across the UK footfall was -11.5% lower than last week and -16.1% lower in Central London.  People are clearly working at home today as advised, as Springboard’s Central London “Back to the Office” benchmark which tracks footfall in areas of Central London that are in close proximity to offices was down by -18.1%.  In sharp contrast, footfall in coastal towns across the UK was up by +9% from last Monday.

“The only parts of the UK where high street footfall rose from last Monday were Scotland (+0.6%), Northern Ireland (+0.6%) and Wales (+3.2%) where temperatures whilst still hot are lower than in England.

“As the day progresses and the heat increases, we are anticipating that the gap between footfall in high streets and shopping centres will widen further.”