Feb 22, 2022
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Weather woes dent UK footfall progress

Feb 22, 2022

Any hopes of seeing last week’s retail footfall numbers continue to rise across the UK were severely blown off course by Storm Eunice and Storm Dudley just before it.

Image: Pixabay

Last week’s high winds left their mark, with visits to high streets, shopping centres and retail parks all taking a hit, two reports show.  

Overall, numbers were down 3.8% week-on-week in the seven days spanning 13-19 February, according to Springboard. What made it worse was it coincided with the school half-term when retail visitor numbers usually jump.

However, the distortion created by the weather meant that the result between Sunday and Thursday was very different from Friday and Saturday. Over the first five days, footfall rose by an average of 5.5% with a huge uplift of 8.1% on Monday as the school half-term break commenced. 

Contrast that with Friday when footfall declined from the previous week by 32% and then by 12.6% on Saturday. In high streets, the results were even more extreme, with a drop of 36.6% on Friday and 17.9% on Saturday.

Meanwhile, figures from Ipsos for the Monday-Sunday trading period showed footfall across the UK fell  31.9% in the non-food sector compared to 2019.

Ipsos also noted towns outperformed cities by 1.6% points, with its figures showing the best performing region was Scotland and Northern Ireland where store visits were down by 30%.

Springboard said the regional results reflect the impact of the storms, with only Greater London, Scotland and Northern Ireland recording increases in footfall, and even these were all less than 1%.

But it said trips at the beginning of what was the half-term week led to noticeable increases in footfall in Central London, regional cities and historic towns across the UK between Monday and Thursday, averaging +16.2%, +10.8% and +10.7% respectively.

This was in sharp contrast to a drop in footfall over these four days of 1.3% in market towns across the UK and a rise of just 2% in Outer London.  

The drop in footfall from the week before meant that the gap from 2019 widened to -26.3% last week from -21.2% in the week before, with the uplift from 2021 diminishing to +122.4% from +149%.

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