Feb 24, 2021
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Happy April 12: retail reopening to see footfall leap - Springboard

Feb 24, 2021

Prepare for the footfall surge. With the 12 April date set for the long-awaited reopening of non-essential retail in England, UK stores can expected a 47.9% week-on-week leap in footfall, according to Springboard data.

Good news lifts December consumer confidence

That rises to 128.5% compared to the same week in 2020. However it will remain 61.8% below the 2019 level.

But back to the positive. High streets will see the largest rise in visitors from 12 April. That’s up an expected 59% week-on-week as both non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality open on same date, differing from Lockdown 1 when hospitality opened two weeks after retail, noted the report.

Meanwhile, shopping centres and retail parks will record rises of 46% and 26% respectively.

While Lockdowns 1 and 2 saw first-week footfall rises of more than 40%, the greater rise expected in April is due to the success of the UK vaccination programme, noted Springboard.

Then report also forecasts there will be a continued uplift into the subsequent week after reopening, with a rise of 10.4%, higher than the 7.1% seen after Lockdown 1.

“Previous data from Springboard has demonstrated that the longer consumers are subject to restrictions, the greater the desire for freedom”, it said. 

It added: “After 14 weeks since Lockdown 3 commenced on the 4 January, shoppers are likely to feel safer visiting retail destinations. The success of the UK vaccination programme which has seen over 60 million individuals vaccinated will put many at ease to get out to retail destinations, who might have previously hesitated. 

“In addition, there is added confidence that retailers have the appropriate social distancing measures in place from 2020 and shoppers have become more accustomed to wearing face coverings in all public locations".

And things should continued to improve as the weeks go by. It added: "With social distancing measures set to be eased by 21 June with a return to near normality and a government target to have all adults vaccinated with a first dose by 31 July, this will no doubt support footfall across all areas of the UK". 

Meanwhile, it also said that coastal towns are expected to receive a boost in footfall over the summer months as Britons take advantage of staycations and regional cities can hope to see footfall rise with the eventual return of office workers, later in the year. 

Spending is also likely to be boosted in the short term by the fact that many consumers who are in work have disposable income to spend that has not been used for holidays and other spending during the Lockdown. 

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard added: “As we approach the 12-month mark since the start of the pandemic in the UK, lockdown fatigue is at its height and the increases in footfall over the last five weeks have indicated the pent up demand for a return to normality. 

“We know from when non-essential retail reopened at the end of Lockdowns 1 in June and 2 in December that footfall will rise sharply”.

She added:By mid-April, consumers will be looking for sensory and social retail experiences, reconnecting with their favourite brands and purchasing new wardrobes for a summer of social events. We are anticipating a strong initial uplift in April that will continue to rise over the summer months as the economy reopens in the UK”. 

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