Footfall unable to sustain double digit growth that followed reopening rush, Springboard reports

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Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across the UK’s retail destinations rose by +4.5% last week from the week before, less than half the rise of +10.6% that occurred during what was the first week following the reopening of hospitality and leisure businesses in England on 4 July.

All of the rise was driven by high streets and shopping centres, where footfall rose by +6.8% and +4.7% respectively, whilst it declined marginally by -0.7% in retail parks. Whilst the extent of the rise in footfall from the week before was not as significant as hoped, it was enough to reduce the year on year decline to -40.2% which is the most modest since the start of the lockdown.

Retail footfall rose on all bar one day last week, peaking on Wednesday and Thursday where the rise in footfall averaged +9.9%.  On the weekend days that bookend the week (the week period starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday), the rise in footfall was far more modest averaging just +1.3%.  This is an indication of the ongoing effect on footfall of the significant number of people still on furlough, for whom the weekend is not as significant for trips out as it is for those who are working Monday to Friday.

The results by nation demonstrated the positive effect of the easing of lockdown restrictions, with footfall in Scotland and Wales rising from the previous week by +21.7% and +15.6% respectively.  In Scotland’s shopping centres, which opened for the first time last week, footfall rose by a staggering +66.7%; and in Wales footfall in high streets rose by +27.5%.  In Central London and other large cities around the UK footfall rose by +15% over the week – more than double the rate of increase across all UK high streets – but the gap between last year and this year remains far greater, with an annual decline of -67.2% in historic towns and -71.3% in Central London.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: “Last week demonstrated that the longed for flood of shoppers returning to bricks and mortar destinations and retail stores once again became a trickle, with a week on week rise in footfall that was less than half that in the previous week. Despite the limited rise in footfall, the year on year result is at its most modest yet, which does provide a glimmer of hope for the struggling retail industry.”

12th – 18 July 2020 – week on week % change in footfall
 UKEnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
High Streets6.8%6.6%27.5%10.4%-9.2%
Retail Parks-0.7%-0.4%-2.6%-1.9%2.1%
Shopping Centres4.7%1.4%8.5%66.7%-5.3%
All UK Destinations4.5%3.7%15.6%21.7%-8.2%
12th – 18 July 2020 – year on year % change in footfall
 UKEnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
High Streets-47.9%-48.3%-51.1%-45.8%-35.0%
Retail Parks-21.3%-21.6%-29.7%-18.2%-4.8%
Shopping Centres-42.5%-41.6%-48.7%-51.5%-22.1%
All UK Destinations-40.2%-40.3%-45.4%-40.7%-31.7%