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Lockdown footfall more resilient than in March

Footfall across UK retail destinations showed signs of resilience when compared with the first national lockdown last week, with footfall 57.7% lower than the same week in 2019, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

Springboard said this is “demonstrably more resilient” than it was in the first complete week of lockdown in March, when it dropped by 75.1% across all UK retail destinations.

Footfall was 64.7% lower in high streets and 65.7% lower in shopping centres but just 34.3% lower in retail parks, again compared with -79% in both high streets and shopping centres and -61% in retail parks during the first lockdown in March.

Between Thursday and Saturday footfall in retail destinations rose by an average of +13.2% from the same three days in the week before, when the lockdown started. Springboard added that this indicates that, rather than restricting their movement outside of their homes, by the second half of last week shoppers had started to return to retail destinations.  

It found “significant rises” in footfall from Thursday onwards across all three destination types (+10.1% in high streets, +14.1% in shopping centres and +18.7% in retail parks).

Following the end of the two week lockdown in Wales, footfall in its retail destinations rose by a “staggering” +135.9% last week from the week before, providing the first indication of what may occur in England when the lockdown ends on 2nd December.  

It added the impact of the start of Christmas trading, and the intention of shoppers to buy early is clearly indicated by the fact that the increases were even greater in Wales’s shopping centres (+168.8%) and high streets (+154.8%) and retail parks (+60.4%). 

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insight director said: “The first complete week of Lockdown 2 drove footfall down across UK retail destinations, although the decline wasn’t nearly as severe as it was in Lockdown 1 or indeed as comprehensive. This was partly due to schools remaining open, although the vast majority of school related journeys take place outside of retail destinations and so would not directly impact footfall in high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

“The fact that footfall is more resilient may well be a function of the proximity of Christmas, and the concern of shoppers to buy well in advance this year to avoid queues, facilitated by the wide range of non-food products offered in stores selling essential goods.” 

She added: “In the second half of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, footfall was significantly higher than on the same three days in the previous week which were the first three days of the lockdown, indicating that as the week progressed shoppers began to make trips out of their homes.  

“Indeed, this reinforces the concern about the likely rebound in activity following the end of the lockdown, highlighted by the unprecedented increase in footfall recorded in Wales following the end of the two week lockdown.”

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