Industry News

Footfall begins to see Christmas rise

Performance rose by 1.5% from the week before, with the switch on of Christmas lights playing a role

Footfall in UK retail destinations rose by 1.5% last week from the week before, according to Springboard.

However, performance varied between retail parks – where footfall declined by -1.1% –
and high streets and shopping centres where footfall rose by 2.5% and 1.7% respectively.

Springboard said there “was also a clear differentiation between the Monday to Friday period – when footfall declined by an average of -1.4% – and the first and last days of the week”, when footfall rose by an average of 8% on Sunday and Saturday.

In high streets and shopping centres the rise in footfall on Saturday, following the switch on of Christmas lights in many cities on Friday – was even greater, reaching 11.7% in high streets and 10% in shopping centres, whilst in retail parks the rise was far more
modest at 3.2%.

Footfall in Central London rose by 1% last week, however, with the widespread switch on taking place on Saturday, it said the benefit to footfall will be seen “more clearly” this week.

However, in regional cities outside the capital – where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose by 4.7% compared with just 1.4% in market towns.

Despite these early signs of the start of Christmas trading, footfall still has ground to make up as the gap from the 2019 level widened to -14.8% versus -13.4% in the week before last. In high streets the gap from 2019 last week was -16.5% (-15.1% in the week before last) and in shopping centres it was -22% (-20.7% in the week before last).

Retail parks remain the most resilient of the three destination types with a gap from the 2019 level of just -3.5% last week, however, the drop in footfall from the week before meant that this nearly doubled from -1.9% in the week before last.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period.

“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations.”

She added: “In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”

Back to top button