Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall in UK retail destinations rose by +0.5% last week, however, this was wholly driven by a rise of +3.9% in UK high streets whilst in retail parks footfall declined by -3.4% and by -2.8% in shopping centres.
The rise in high street footfall was polarised, with significant uplifts on Monday and Saturday (+19.1% and +19% respectively) which were bounce backs from drops in footfall on those two days over the bank holiday weekend. In contrast, the stronger performance of retail parks and shopping centres over the Bank Holiday weekend meant that they did not benefit last week. Even over the four days between Tuesday and Friday – when footfall dipped below the level on the same four days in the previous week – it was high streets that fared the best with only a marginal drop of -0.2% versus – 1.4% in retail parks and -3.3% in shopping centres.
Footfall rose across all types of high street, but the most modest rises of +0.5% and +1.6% were in coastal and historic towns – which are appealing to leisure visitors – and in regional cities outside of London (+1.7%). With a rise in footfall of +5.7% in market towns it was clear that shoppers stayed local, but a positive indicator was a rise in footfall in Central London of +4.2%, suggesting that shoppers are starting to feel sufficiently confident to make trips to the capital. Despite this, London has significant ground to make up as footfall in Central London remains -61.8% below the 2019 level compared with -24.1% in Outer London, -35.5% in regional cities outside of London, -30.3% in market towns and -38.6% in high streets across the UK. Shopping centres have gained slightly more ground than high streets with footfall last week -29% below the 2019 level, but the clear winner remains retail parks where footfall last week was -4.6% below the same week two years ago.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented: “Shoppers braved the ongoing rain and ventured back into retail destinations last week with footfall rising from the week before. However, it was high streets rather than shopping centres or retail parks that drove the uplift, and the result was a largely a result of a bounce back from a drop in shopper activity that occurred over the bank holiday weekend the week before. “Shoppers continued to demonstrate a greater desire to visit their local high streets than large city centres across the UK, although it seems that Central London is becoming more appealing with a rise in footfall last week that was the second highest of any type of high street, only lower than in market towns. “With indoor hospitality opening today the return of shoppers to high streets couldn’t come at a better time, suggesting we will see a further uplift in footfall as the opportunity to eat and drink inside protected from the elements will give shoppers an incentive to visit high streets more frequently and dwell longer.”