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High Street

UK footfall accelerates fourfold 

Footfall in UK retail destinations rose by 4.1% last week against the week before, marking a “significant” acceleration in the prior week’s rise of 0.8%, and 1.8% rise in the same week last year.  

According to the latest data from Springboard, this was largely driven by rises in footfall of 6.8% in Greater London and 7.1% in the South East.

This also marked a reversal of the previous week when footfall declined in these two regions, and a “far stronger” performance than the same week last year when footfall only rose by 1.6% in Greater London and 2.2% in the South East. 

According to Springboard, these two regions “generate a far greater volume of footfall than elsewhere”, which meant that last week’s results ended with footfall 30.7% lower than the year before, a “noticeable improvement” from an annual drop of 32.5% reported the week prior. 

Shopping centres were a “clear winner” however, with a week-on-week increase of 7.1% against a rise of 3.2% in high streets and 2.7% in retail parks.  

Despite this, retail parks still “lead the way” in recovery, with footfall only 10.6% lower than last year compared with shopping centres, where footfall is 32.4% lower and high streets where it is 39.1% lower.  

High streets as a whole were “adversely impacted” by a general lack of footfall returning to central London, where footfall remains 61.2% lower than last year. 

In contrast, footfall in local high streets has recovered to a “far greater extent”. In outer London high streets, the drop in footfall from last year was only 29.5%, while it was 28.7% in coastal towns and 28.3% in market towns.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “It seems that the increased quarantine measures imposed last week on a number of overseas destinations are having a positive impact on UK footfall.  

“Footfall in UK retail destinations last week not only rose on a week on week basis, but the uplift was more than four times as large as the week before, and two and a half times as large as the same week last year.” 

She added: “The outcome is a further incremental recovery in footfall compared with 2019, and the sixteenth consecutive week in which the annual decline has lessened which offers a glimmer of hope for retailers.”

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