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As lockdown fatigue grows, shoppers increasingly willing to travel to retail destinations (even despite Beast from the East)

Published: 15 February 2021 - Neil Mead
 

Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that last week, footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +1.5%, which followed a rise of +6.7% in the week before. 

Footfall in high streets declined by -1.7%, however, there were rises of +3.9% in shopping centres and +6.1% in retail parks.  With declines in high street footfall in seven of the ten UK geographies it is clear that the snow deterred shoppers, although this wasn’t the case in either retail parks or shopping centres where footfall rose in all but one area. The main findings are as follows:

  • Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +1.5%, which followed a rise of +6.7% in the week before. 
  • Footfall in high streets declined by -1.7%, however, there were rises of +3.9% in shopping centres and +6.1% in retail parks.
  • With snow hitting the UK, footfall declined by an average of -7% between Sunday and Tuesday, but this was compensated for by rises on each of the remaining four days which averaged +7%.
  • Footfall in regional cities rose by +1.7% whilst in smaller market towns it declined by -1.4%.

With the snow hitting many parts of the UK at the beginning of the week, it is not surprising that footfall declined by an average of -7% between Sunday and Tuesday (by -11.3% on Monday), but this was compensated for by rises on each of the remaining four days which averaged +7%.  Interestingly, and perhaps reflective of the pent up demand amongst shoppers to venture out and certainly contra to what would be expected in heavy snow conditions when shoppers tend to stay local, footfall in regional cities rose by +1.7% whilst in smaller market towns it declined by -1.4%.

The increases in footfall from week to week throughout the lockdown period are reflected in a  reduction in the annual decline in footfall, which last week was -61.4% across all UK retail destinations.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “Despite Beast from the East 2 hitting virtually all of the UK at some point last week, footfall across retail destinations continued to rise from the week before. The weather did impact high streets, but it was more than compensated for by increases in footfall in shopping centres and retail parks.

"Last week was the fourth consecutive week in which footfall has increased from the week before, delivering ever more evidence that shoppers are experiencing lockdown fatigue and are increasingly willing to travel to retail destinations, whatever the weather. In fact, in the seven weeks since Lockdown 3 came into effect on Boxing Day, the only declines have been in the first three weeks of the lockdown, which included the two weeks following Christmas when footfall typically drops anyway.

The drop in footfall from the same week last year is now the lowest it's been since the second week of the lockdown.”

Week beginning 07/02/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)

 

Year on year % change in footfall

Week on week % change in footfall

All UK Destinations

-61.4%

1.5%

UK High Streets

-69.3%

-1.7%

UK Retail Parks

-34.4%

6.1%

UK Shopping Centres

-70.9%

3.9%

     

Week beginning 07/02/2021 (Sunday to Saturday) - All UK Retail Destinations

 

Year on year % change in footfall

Week on week % change in footfall

East  

-62.1%

-3.0%

East Midlands

-66.0%

2.3%

Greater London

-65.0%

-1.9%

North & Yorkshire

-56.4%

5.7%

Scotland

-66.0%

-0.9%

South East

-56.8%

1.7%

South West

-55.8%

3.9%

Wales

-61.1%

1.9%

West Midlands

-57.9%

0.5%

Northern Ireland

-63.1%

12.5%

     

Week beginning 07/02/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)

 

Year on year % change in footfall

Week on week % change in footfall

England

-61.1%

1.8%

Wales

-61.1%

1.9%

Scotland

-66.0%

-0.9%

Northern Ireland

-63.1%

12.5%

     

Week beginning 07/02/2021 (Sunday to Saturday)

 

Year on year % change in footfall

Week on week % change in footfall

Central London

-86.9%

-1.0%

Coastal Towns

-53.6%

-0.4%

Historic Towns

-69.2%

0.5%

Market Towns

-59.4%

-1.4%

Outer London

-57.2%

-6.1%

Regional Cities

-81.4%

1.1%

Regional Cities excl London

-75.2%

1.7%

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