UK store footfall remains way behind 2019, but is improving
March footfall to UK retail destinations showed how tough it has been — and will continue to be — to get back to ‘normal’ post-pandemic. The latest figures from Ipsos Retail Performance on Tuesday showed footfall stays stubbornly down from 2019 levels, even though there are signs of improvement.
The figures are significant because they focus on the non-food area of which fashion is a massive part and they also look specifically at shoppers going into stores rather than just being in the general area.
Across the UK, footfall fell by 22.9% compared to 2019 in the non-food sector for the five weeks up to March 27.
Towns outperformed cities by 8.3% points as city centres continued to struggle, and the best performing region was Northern England where store visits were down by ’only’ 18.6%.
But on the plus side, the UK as a whole was up 9.9% month on month and cities rose 4% while towns were up 11%.
High streets remained over 23% down compared to 2019 but they were up 15.7% compared to February. Retail parks were down only around 15% compared to 2019 and were up 5% against February, while shopping centres were down nearly 24% on a three-year basis and up over 11% month on month.
Oliver Hillier, senior retail analyst at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “Despite footfall still being down compared to 2019, the unseasonably warm weather had a positive impact on footfall across the UK, with footfall up compared to the previous month.
“However, concerns that the Chancellor’s Spring Statement didn’t go far enough to protect consumers against the rising cost of living will likely impact footfall levels throughout the spring, as many households look to cut back on non-essential items to cover increasing utility costs and the recent rise in council tax.”
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