Curfew sees retail footfall drop

Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across UK retail destinations declined by -3% last week from the week before, however, all of this decline was driven by a -6.8% drop in activity in high streets whilst in retail parks footfall rose by +1.1% and by +0.9% in shopping centres.

For high streets it was definitely a week of two halves; over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday footfall only declined marginally by -0.6% from the week before. Following the government’s announcement on Tuesday evening, to ‘work from home where possible’ from Wednesday to Saturday, the decline averaged -11%. In retail parks on Wednesday and Thursday, footfall only declined by an average of -1.1% compared with -4% in shopping centres and -13.6% in high streets, and with the majority of retail parks having a large food store it suggests that an element of panic buying occurred on these two days. The closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday had an immediate impact on activity in high streets; whilst on Wednesday footfall declined by -10.5% between 10pm and 12am, on Friday the decline over the same two hours averaged -36.4%, with a drop of -55.4% post 11pm.

Footfall across all retail destinations last week remained -28% lower than last year (in the previous week it was -28.7% lower); and in retail parks where footfall was stronger on Wednesday and Thursday than in high streets and shopping centres, footfall further strengthened on an annual basis moving to -10.4% compared with last year, from -12.5% in the week before.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented: “There was an immediate and downward shift in footfall in high streets from Wednesday onwards, which was inevitable given the prevalence of hospitality and the fact that the majority of offices are based in towns and city centres. Unsurprisingly, the compulsory closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday onward led a huge drop in footfall in high streets after 11pm.

“Despite the impact on footfall of the increased government restrictions from Thursday there was little impact on the annual result, as footfall actually rose marginally over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday, possibly due to consumers making trips in advance of further restrictions, which helped to offset the drops later in the week.”

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