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High Street

High street footfall rises 4% ahead of lockdown anniversary

Footfall in every type of high street rose by at least +5% from the week before, reaching +7.8% in major city centres outside London

Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +0.5% last week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the first national lockdown , wholly driven by a +4% increase in high streets according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

During the week, footfall in both retail parks and shopping centres declined by -4.4% and -2.3% respectively.

Springboard revealed the current picture is a “massive difference” from the same week in 2020, when – in advance of the start of the lockdown on Monday 23 March – the government advised us to work from home and not travel. In that week footfall dropped by -21.7% – the first time we had recorded such a decline.

It added that the decline last year means that the annual change of -40.8% last week looks “more favourable” than it has done since the summer of 2020 and significantly better than the annual result of -52.7% in the week before. In contrast, the more relevant comparison with 2019 reveals an annual decline of -56.5%.

Footfall in every type of high street rose by at least +5% from the week before, reaching +7.8% in major city centres outside London. The impact of the easing of restrictions in Wales and schools returning in Scotland was evident, with increases in high street footfall in both nations of +17% and +19.4% respectively, versus just +3% in England.

It also found that performance across the week was volatile for all three destination types, but there was a distinct peak on Wednesday when the rain – which has been a persistent feature between Sunday and Tuesday – cleared in many places for just one day.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Footfall across UK retail destinations continued to strengthen last week, with a modest rise from the week before. At the same time, the annual decline improved significantly but this is a distortion created by a huge drop in footfall in the same week last year as we approached the start of the first Lockdown on Monday 23rd March 2020.”

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