Retail footfall boosted by reopening of hospitality venues
New data has shown that UK retail footfall improved to a decline of 39.4% in July as visitor numbers to shopping destinations were boosted by the reopening of cafes and restaurants after lockdown.
According to figures from retail specialist Springboard, the uplift was an improvement of nearly a fifth on June which meant the month ended with the best result since February.
Footfall was down by 47.2% in high streets, 42% in shopping centres and 19.9% in retail parks. Springboard said retail parks performed better due to their ease of access by car, free parking, open air spaces and large stores that make social distancing easier.
While the number of visitors to retail destinations was boosted by the reopening of hospitality venues, Springboard has warned that all changes that are obvious boosts to footfall have now been implemented. Despite this, bricks-and-mortar destinations are still only attracting six out of every ten shoppers that visited last year.
Footfall is still being constrained by a lack of tourists, people working from home and rising unemployment.
Central London, which is more reliant than anywhere else in the UK on an influx of tourists and workers, saw its July footfall remain at 69% lower than in 2019.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insights director, said: “With current discussions bubbling over about how we get the schools back in September and expert views that in order to do this sectors of the hospitality sector may need to close, the improvement in footfall over the coming weeks is not likely to be any more than gradual. A further key factor that will inevitably constrain the ongoing recovery of retail, whether it be online or bricks-and-mortar, is the impending recession which we know is just around the corner.”
Photo by Georgia Hawkins
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