UK retail footfall improves driven by a return to the high street
UK retail footfall increased by 1.5% last week from the week before as more people visited high streets.
According to figures from retail specialist Springboard, high street footfall rose by 7.2% but the number of visits to shopping centres and retail parks declined by 4% and 4.9% respectively.
Compared to the previous week, Springboard found there was an uplift in footfall across all types of town which ranged from a 3.6% rise in historic towns to a 12% increase in Springboard’s Central London Back to the Office benchmark.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The second week of the year delivered mixed results; an overall increase in footfall across all UK retail destinations from the week before, but a rise that was driven wholly by high streets, whilst in both retail parks and shopping centres activity declined.
“It seems that whilst the government’s Plan B guidance to work from home if possible is still in place, there are the first signs that employees are starting to drift back to the office; for the first time since mid-November footfall rose in high streets from the week before across all periods of the day, with a double digit increase in the first part of the day, when employees travel in to offices, for the second consecutive week.”
While footfall declined every day from Sunday to Wednesday, this changed to a rise every day from Thursday to Saturday with an average uplift of 13.4% over the three days and a peak on Saturday of +17.3%.
The gap from 2019 narrowed marginally to -21.3% across all UK retail destinations last week as the gap in high streets improved to -26.9% from -30.9% in the week before. In contrast, the week’s drop in retail parks and shopping centres meant that the gap in footfall from 2019 in both destinations widened to -4.2% and -26% respectively.
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