Footfall plateaus despite warnings of supply issues for Christmas, Springboard reports

According to retail intelligence experts Springboard, footfall across UK retail destinations declined marginally by -0.7% last week from the week before.

Footfall remained flat in high streets whilst dropping by -1.5% in retail parks and -1.6% in shopping centres. Latest insight from Springboard highlights that the warned impact of supply issues on the availability of Christmas products has not yet impacted consumer behaviour.

The drops in footfall across retail parks and shopping centres were widespread, with declines in all but one UK geography. However, in high streets there were declines in only four areas with the largest rises occurring in the devolved nations (+6.7% in Scotland, +3.7% in Wales and +1.9% in Northern Ireland).

Footfall in Greater London and in Market Towns declined by -3.4% and -1.4% respectively, whilst rising in Central London by +2.7%.

Springboard’s Central London back to the office benchmark saw a rise of +3.2%, whilst regional cities outside of the capital also rise by +2.1%, showing an acceleration in the return of workers to the office. The fact that footfall did not change last week from the week before meant that the gap from the 2019 level shifted only slightly, to -14% across all destination types from -13.5% last week.

According to Springboard, UK footfall last week was +28.1% higher than in the same week in 2020, which was a strong improvement from +24.5% in the week before.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: “Last week UK footfall was flat in high streets, but small declines in activity in both retail parks and shopping centres suggests that discussions in the media around the impact of supply issues on the availability of Christmas products have not yet impacted consumer behaviour. In parallel, indications are that the trickle back to the office is accelerating, with footfall in both outer London and market towns – locations where resilient activity levels are synonymous with home working – declining from the week before, whilst rising in Central London and regional cities outside the capital.”

Week beginning 10/10/2021 (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 Destinations28.1%-14.0%-0.7%
UK High Streets40.3%-15.3%0.04%
UK Retail Parks8.7%-3.4%-1.5%
UK Shopping Centres21.3%-21.2%-1.6%
Week beginning 10/10/2021 (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
East23.6%-11.9%-1.8%
East Midlands20.9%-18.5%-2.2%
Greater London32.6%-12.9%-0.9%
North & Yorkshire29.8%-12.4%-0.6%
Scotland31.3%-18.0%3.6%
South East21.2%-9.8%-1.6%
South West19.9%-6.6%-0.9%
Wales46.3%-14.3%0.8%
West Midlands23.1%-13.0%-0.3%
Northern Ireland18.6%-19.3%1.3%
Week beginning 10/10/2021 (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 Towns15.6%-10.6%0.7%
Historic Towns37.5%-7.1%0.0%
Regional Cities73.7%-19.8%2.3%
Central London86.8%-26.3%2.7%
Outer London22.0%-11.6%-3.4%
Market Towns19.9%-10.8%-1.4%
Regional Cities Ex London63.9%-15.4%2.1%
CL “Back to the Office”79.4%-27.6%3.2%