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High Street

New restrictions see high street footfall drop 6.6%

The government’s new restrictions seemingly took its toll on the high street last week with high street footfall falling by 6.8%, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

The new data also shows that footfall across all UK retail destinations declined by -3% last week from the week before, driven by the drop in activity in high streets, whilst in retail parks footfall rose by 1.1% and by 0.9% in shopping centres.

It found that over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday footfall only declined marginally by 0.6% from the week before. Following the government’s announcement on Tuesday evening, to “work from home where possible” from Wednesday to Saturday, the decline averaged -11%.

In retail parks, on Wednesday and Thursday, footfall declined by an average of 1.1% compared with 4% in shopping centres and 13.6% in high streets.

Springboard added the closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday had an “immediate impact” on activity in high streets; whilst on Wednesday footfall declined by 10.5% between 10pm and 12am, on Friday the decline over the same two hours averaged 36.4%, with a drop of 55.4% post 11pm.

Footfall across all retail destinations last week remained 28% lower than last year.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “There was an immediate and downward shift in footfall in high streets from Wednesday onwards, which was inevitable given the prevalence of hospitality and the fact that the majority of offices are based in towns and city centres.

“Unsurprisingly, the compulsory closure of hospitality outlets at 10pm from Thursday onward led a huge drop in footfall in high streets after 11pm.”

She added: “Despite the impact on footfall of the increased government restrictions from Thursday there was little impact on the annual result, as footfall actually rose marginally over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday, possibly due to consumers making trips in advance of further restrictions, which helped to offset the drops later in the week.”

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