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High Street

February footfall falls by 73.5%

The figures represent a 3.4% improvement from January levels

UK retail footfall for February reportedly fell 73.5% year-on-year, the second largest decline seen since May 2020.

According to the British Retail Consortium, the drop represented a 3.4% improvement from January’s levels.

The data stems from the latest ShopperTrak analysis, which has joined Sensormatic Solutions in turn changing the footfall monitor’s name to Sensormatic IQ.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the body, welcomed the “key business funding schemes” revealed in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget announcement.

However, she claimed that “despite the support offered by the chancellor,” the retail sector is “not out of the woods yet”.

Dickinson said: “While footfall improved slightly due to slowing Covid infections boosting consumer confidence, it will be a difficult time for retail until businesses are permitted to reopen in April.

“In order to support a much needed recovery in the industry and the three million jobs it supports, the Government must ensure the UK’s state aid rules allow businesses to fully access the grants and loans that have been announced.”

Despite another month of non-essential stores retail remaining “closed” and “shuttered,” the vaccination programme has been attributed to a slight lift in consumer confidence.

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for EMEA at Sensormatic Solutions, said: “While there is light at the end of [sic] tunnel, the outlook between now and 12 April, when non-essential retail can reopen, remains bleak. 

“Many retailers will be holding out hope that, once again, consumers will return when they reopen and that pent-up demand for real life retail experiences will sustain the high street’s recovery.”

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