Industry News

High street footfall drops on Black Friday for first time

The 2% increase was driven by shopping centres that increased by 6.5% and retail parks that increased by 4.9%, whilst footfall in high streets declined by -1.5%

Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by 2% last week from the week before, despite high street footfall falling on Black Friday for the first time in history, according to retail experts Springboard.

It found that high street footfall on Black Friday declined by -0.5%, the first drop since Black Friday started in the UK. Instead, the increase during the week was driven by shopping centres (6.5%) and retail parks (4.9%), whilst footfall in high streets declined by -1.5%.

In the eight previous years recorded by Springboard, high street footfall on Black Friday rose from the week before by an average of 17.3%. In 2019 it rose by 25% and during lockdown last year it was 11.7% higher on Black Friday than the week before.

In 2019 footfall in Central London and regional cities outside the capital rose on Black Friday by 23.7% and 29.6% and by 32.3% in historic towns, however this year saw increases of just 2.3% in Central London, 0.5% in regional cities outside of the capital and by 1.2% in historic towns.

It said that “adverse weather on Saturday compounded the impact” on footfall in high streets with a decline of -14.5% from the week before on that one day, versus a rise of 3.5% in retail parks, and 1.1% in shopping centres which are largely enclosed and therefore offer protection from the elements.

Footfall now stands at -17% lower than the 2019 level – a widening of the gap from the week before when it stood at -12.4% from 2019 – but more than double the level in 2020 (102.1%)

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “There were some strong gains in footfall in UK retail destinations last week – the week of Black Friday – however, all of the uplift came from shopping centres and retail parks.

“The overall results for the week leading up to and including Black Friday weekend was dampened by a far weaker footfall performance in high streets than anticipated, and a drop in high street footfall on Black Friday itself for the first time in history.”

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