Retail footfall recovery “slow but steady” in 2022
New figures have shown there was a “slow but steady” post-pandemic recovery for UK retail destinations in 2022.
The gap with pre-pandemic footfall remained significant with UK footfall down 14.2% across the year, but this was an improvement from the -20.8% figure recorded in January 2022.
The data from retail specialist Springboard shows that consumer localism slowed down the retail recovery in Central London, where footfall was down 17.8% on 2019 figures between May and December.
Hybrid working had an impact on high streets where weekday footfall remained 18.2% below 2019 levels across the year. However, the gap was smaller at weekends at 11.8% below.
Meanwhile retail parks were more resilient with footfall down just 3.7% on pre-pandemic levels. Springboard said the locations benefited from pandemic spending patterns and the fact that they were easier to reach by car during rail strikes.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The question on everyone’s lips now that we are firmly in the midst of the pandemic recovery period, is what are the trends that are going to be prevalent during 2023?
“Over the decade that Springboard has been publishing its data, footfall declined by an average of -1.3% per year each year from 2009, and so in even the absence of Covid, footfall across UK retail destinations would now be circa -4% lower than in 2009.
“Taking this into account, with all things being equal footfall will not return to pre-pandemic footfall levels, and in 2023 Springboard anticipates that the gap from 2019 will settle at between -5% and -10%.”
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