High street footfall down on Black Friday for first time in history
New figures have shown that UK retail footfall rose by 2% last week from the week before despite a decline in the number of visits to high streets.
According to data from retail specialist Springboard, footfall in shopping centres and retail parks increased by 6.5% and 4.9% respectively, but high street footfall declined by 1.5%.
While footfall strengthened significantly on Black Friday itself with uplifts from the week before of 17.9% in shopping centres and 11.4% in retail parks, in high streets there was a decline of 0.5%.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The overall results for the week leading up to and including Black Friday weekend was dampened by a far weaker footfall performance in high streets than anticipated, and a drop in high street footfall on Black Friday itself for the first time in history.”
Meanwhile, footfall in central London and regional cities outside the capital rose on Black Friday from the week before by 2.3% and 0.5% respectively. However, this compares to respective uplifts of 23.7% and 29.6% on Black Friday in 2019 when the destinations were not impacted by more people working from home and a lack of tourists.
The figures mean that UK retail footfall now stands at 17% lower than the 2019 level compared to a gap of 12.4% in the week before.
Wehrle said there were three factors behind the drop in footfall in high streets on Black Friday.
She explained: “Firstly, the large proportion of office employees continuing to work from home meant that rather than visiting high street stores during the working day on Black Friday, for those shoppers who wanted to shop in store on Black Friday it was easier to head out to shopping centres and retail parks.
“Secondly, a reduction in overseas tourists in the UK has resulted in far fewer leisure shoppers who on Black Friday would typically head to Central London, large city centres around the UK and towns attractive to tourists such as historic and coastal towns.
“The third factor was the adverse weather on Saturday, which acted as a severe deterrent to shoppers in making trips to towns and cities. However, despite these challenges, the more substantial retail offer in larger towns and cities appealed to high street shoppers more than smaller towns.”
Photo by Georgia Hawkins
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