High street footfall boosted by return to offices
New figures have shown that footfall declined by 18.8% in January 2023 from December 2022, compared to a rise of 5.8% from November to December.
According to retail specialist Springboard, there was also a widening in the gap in footfall compared to 2019 from -10.9% in December to -12.3% in January.
However, the number of visits to high streets on weekdays was 17.2% up in the month compared to January last year, although growth was lower at 10.3% at the weekend. Springboard suggested this was due to more employers tempting workers back to the office in 2023.
Across all UK destinations, footfall was up 10.7% compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile footfall in shopping centres and retail parks rose by 10.3% and 1.5% respectively.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “This evidence reflects the efforts made by many businesses to encourage their employees back into the office following the Christmas break, but it also demonstrates the adverse impact on retail and hospitality businesses when employees opt to work from home during rail strikes.
“We know that during the strikes in December footfall – particularly high street footfall – was severely impacted on the days of the strikes, but the full impact on economic performance was mitigated by the festive period providing an added incentive for consumers to divert their trips to shopping centres and retail parks.
“With the festive period fully behind us, and the cost-of-living crisis hitting households hard, when hurdles to spending such as the rail strike are placed in the way, it is likely that many consumers will abandon shopping trips and rein in their spending instead, hindering economic recovery.”
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