Jan 10, 2022
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UK footfall drops in latest week, London suffers most

Jan 10, 2022

City centre retail destinations may not have actually been deserted in the latest week, but with advice to work from home still in force, footfall to those locations was down by a big percentage in the seven days, Springboard said on Monday.

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Footfall across UK retail destinations declined by 6% last week compared to the week before. And it dropped by 25.6% in Central London although local high streets experienced a more modest decline. Footfall was down 2.8% in market towns and in Outer London it even managed to rise by 2%. That was presumably linked to those same consumers who were working from home shopping locally.

Figures indicate some employees did venture into their offices, but it wasn’t enough to boost footfall to those city centres where many offices and flagship stores are located. Regional cities saw footfall down 17.1% week-on-week.

Springboard said that overall, high streets were down 10% with shopping centres down 4.4% and retail parks up 2.9% week-on-week.

The end result of all this was that footfall across all UK retail destinations last week was 21.8% lower than the same week in 2019, but this substantial gap emanated from high streets and shopping centres (-30.9% and -23.7% respectively). In retail parks footfall was only 0.2% below the 2019 level.

But while the work from home guidance can be blamed for the weak seven days, the fact is that the decline is one regularly seen during the equivalent week in other years.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “Somewhat inevitably, given that last week was the first return to work for many after the Christmas and New Year period, footfall declined from the week before. Indeed, this is a familiar result in the first week of the year, having occurred every year since 2011, and the magnitude of the drop in footfall last week was almost identical to that in the same week in 2019 and slightly lower than in the same week in 2020.”

That perhaps offer some hope that the next few weeks might see some sort of an improvement, especially as fears over the overcome variant seem to be diminishing, despite the high case rates.

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