Mar 8, 2021
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Retail parks see strong rise in weekly footfall on eve of England schools reopening

Mar 8, 2021

In the continuing countdown to non-essential stores reopening, how has UK footfall fared in the latest recorded week?  In a nutshell, high streets poor, shopping centres not bad, retail parks good.

Photo: Springboard

Visits across all destinations during the 28 February-6 March period declined 0.7% from the previous week, according to Springboard.

That fall could have been worse had it not been for a strong 3.2% gain in retail parks, as parents visited large supermarkets in preparation for Back to School day in England on Monday.

Elsewhere, footfall fell 3.3% across high streets but did rise 0.9% in shopping centres.

Footfall activity differed in the first half of the week from the second half, with increases across UK destinations on each day between Sunday and Tuesday averaging +9.6%. However, there were declines on each of the subsequent four days averaging -6.2%. In high streets, the declines from Wednesday onwards were more severe, averaging -9.8% and reaching -12.8% on Friday.

Despite footfall in high streets declining overall, in regional cities outside of London it rose by 2.3% while dropping 10.9% in Central London and by 8.7% in Outer London. 

Apart from London, the most severe declines in high street footfall occurred in the East, Midlands and North of England, which experienced poorer weather conditions than other parts of the UK.

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard, said: “For the first time in seven weeks footfall in UK retail destinations declined from the week before. However, the drop was a marginal one, and was driven wholly by high streets”.

She added: “Visits to retail parks increased by three times as much as in shopping centres, which may well have been a result of parents shopping for school clothing and items in large food stores in the run up to the return to the classroom”.

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