Insight: predictions for Plan B impact on footfall
Following the government’s implementation of Plan B Covid-19 restrictions in England, retail footfall experts are predicting that there will be a significant impact on the number of visits to UK retail destinations.
According to retail specialist Springboard, footfall in Central London and city centres outside of the capital is currently 20% below the 2019 level. However, the company is now predicting a widening of the gap, with a footfall dropping to 50% below the 2019 level in Central London and 30% below in regional cities.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “This clearly represents yet another hammer blow to an industry that is still trying to recover from a huge loss of trade in 2020. Whilst many retailers benefited from a huge uplift in their online sales last year, for the vast majority this was simply not enough to make up for the loss of store sales.”
Springboard is also predicting that outer London footfall will shift from its current level of 10% below 2019 to 15% below. Meanwhile, it expects the number of visits to market town to move to 19% below 2019 from its current level of -16%.
Comparing the effect on high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, the company said the gap between now and 2019 in shopping centres is expected to widen to -28% from its current level of -22%. In addition, high streets are expected to see a gap of -16 increase to -24%
However, Springboard is forecasting that footfall in retail parks, which is currently 4% less than the same time in 2019, could strengthen to -2% due to a drop in shopper activity in city centres.
Wehrle added: “From our knowledge of previous periods of Covid restrictions we know that enforced home working and increased nervousness around Covid means a proportion of this footfall will be diverted elsewhere, predominantly to smaller high streets that are more local to shoppers’ homes and are less congested, and to retail parks, many of which have a wide range of high street retail stores that are large and spacious, combined with open air parking that is free of charge.”