Mar 15, 2021
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Consumers increasingly ready to shop, Springboard footfall figures show

Mar 15, 2021

Pent-up shopper enthusiasm continues to grow. With the countdown to non-essential retail opening in the UK next month, weekly footfall figures rose for the seventh time in eight consecutive weeks, according to data from retail experts Springboard on Monday.

Photo: Springboard

Footfall across UK retail destinations rose 7% week-on-week for the period covering 7-13 March, with increases in activity recorded in high streets (+5.7%), shopping centres (+9.8%) and retail parks (+6.9%).

That meant shopping centres saw rises greater than in high streets or retail parks and nearly three times as large as the average over the previous six weeks.

Footfall rose on five of the seven days last week, increasing by 10% on each day between Thursday and Saturday. A peak of +14.1% on Tuesday “was perhaps prompted by parents of school age children having some additional time to make trips following the return to school on Monday”, noted Springboard.

In Central London, footfall rose by an impressive 14.3% and by 13.9% in Outer London. Despite the double digit rise in the capital last week, the impact of the pandemic there is evident as footfall remains 78.2% below the 2020 level, the report noted.

In other regional cities outside of the capital the uplift was more modest at just 2.3%. The report noted that shoppers continued to ‘stay local’, as footfall in market towns rose by 6.2% bringing the annual decline to -53.1% versus -67.9% in regional cities.  

The continuous uplifts in activity in retail destinations from week to week means that the drop in footfall over the year has narrowed from the start of Lockdown 3 by nearly a fifth in high streets and shopping centres, and by around a half in retail parks, Springboard said. 

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard said: “As we approach the anniversary of the first Lockdown we can see the significant degree to which consumer activity has changed since the same week in 2020. Footfall across UK retail destinations rose once again last week... while in the same week last year footfall not only declined but, as consumers were receiving more and more messages concerning the spread of the virus, the drop was greater than in the previous eight weeks". 

She added: “With non-essential stores still closed until 12 April, the steady increase in visits to high streets and shopping centres delivers further evidence of the degree of pent up demand amongst consumers to return to stores".

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