Coronavirus

Footfall decline eases amid ‘sluggish’ recovery

Footfall across the UK rose by 19% in June against the month prior, but was still down by 62.6% year-on-year, according to the latest figures from the BRC

In the first two weeks of the month, footfall decline averaged 77.1%, but this improved to 53.3% in the remaining three weeks after all retailers were allowed to open in England and Ireland.

High street footfall was down by 64.5% year-on-year in June, but the final three weeks of the period again saw an improvement, with the average decline lying at 58.4%, against the 74.5% recorded in the first two weeks of the month

Meanwhile, footfall in retail parks was down by only 33.8% year-on-year. The average decline in the first two weeks was 45.1%, easing to 26.3% in the final three weeks of the period.

According to the BRC, their wider, open spaces, higher proportion of supermarkets and large stores, which reopened sooner than other retailers, helped to “shelter” retail parks from a steeper decline

Shopping centres were the worst hit in the period, with footfall down by 68.3% year-on-year. The footfall average decline in the first two weeks was 81.4%, improving to 59.6% in the remaining three weeks.

Helen Dickinson OBE, CEO of the BRC, said: “Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential retail stores on 15 June.

“UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost.”

She added: “The chancellor’s economic update earlier this week provided critical interventions to protect jobs and incomes for households across the UK. 

“However, unless footfall returns to UK streets, the Government must be prepared to step in and take further action to boost demand, such as widening the VAT cut to include retail goods.” 

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant at EMEA of ShopperTrak, said: “It really was a month of two halves with footfall down 80% at the start of June before rising significantly post re-opening, though still far down on last year. 

“It’s too early to say if the re-opening of pubs and restaurants will help significantly boost retail footfall, but the UK was the last amongst its European peers to re-open doors and is also seeing the slowest rate of recovery.” 

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