Footfall benefits from Christmas light switch-ons in city centres
UK retail footfall increased by 1.5% last week from the prior seven day period despite a drop in the number of visits to retail parks.
According to figures from retail footfall specialist Springboard, footfall rose by 2.5% and 1.7% respectively in high streets and shopping centres, but retail parks saw a decline of 1.1%.
Across all three types of destination, footfall declined by an average of 1.4% Monday to Friday, but climbed by an average of 8% on Sunday and Saturday as some cities benefited from the switch on of Christmas lights on Friday.
Meanwhile, footfall in Central London rose by 1% last week. However, with the widespread switch on taking place on Saturday, Springboard said the benefit to footfall in the shopping district will be seen more clearly this week. In regional cities outside the capital, where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose by 4.7% compared with just 1.4% in market towns.
During the week, the gap from the 2019 levels of footfall widened to -14.8% compared to -13.4% in the week before last. In high streets the gap grew to -16.5% from the previous week’s -15.1% while the gap in shopping centres was -22% compared to a previous -20.7%. Springboard found that retail parks were the most resilient of the three destination types with the gap from the 2019 level coming in at -3.5% last week from -1.9% in the week before last.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period.
“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations. In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”
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