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Reopening week sees footfall jump by 87.8%

The ‘substantial uplift’ in shopper activity last week means that footfall across all UK retail destinations is now just -25.4% lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic level

Footfall in UK retail destinations rose by 87.8% last week following the reopening of non-essential stores on Monday 12 April, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

Springboard found that UK high streets experienced a 93.2% rise and shopping centres saw an even higher increase in footfall at 126.6%.

In retail parks, despite the ongoing higher level of activity due to the presence of essential stores, Springboard revealed footfall still rose by 35.3% as other stores started to trade.

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Opening day on 12 April delivered the greatest increase in footfall of any day last week (151.8%), but the rise on each day was no lower than +69.7% (Tuesday), rising to 116.9% on Saturday.

The “substantial uplift” in shopper activity last week means that footfall across all UK retail destinations is now just -25.4% lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic level; in high streets and shopping centres the gap is slightly bigger (-34.9% in high streets and -27.9% in shopping centres) but in retail parks footfall is just -2% below its 2019 level.

Springboard added that the extent of the uplift last week means that the gap in footfall from 2019 across all UK retail destinations has narrowed by more than a half in a single week, reaching the level achieved after two months of trading following Lockdown 1 in 2020.

Footfall increased “significantly’ in all types of high street, with the largest uplift of 120.4% in Central London and 116% in regional cities elsewhere in the UK. However, the gap from 2019 still remains significant (-59.3% in Central London and -40.3% in regional cities outside of London).

In contrast, in outer London high streets the rise in footfall from the week before was not as great (66.1%), but their greater resilience means that the gap from 2019 is now only -20.4%. Likewise in Market Towns, where footfall rose by 103.1% last week, narrowing the gap in footfall from 2019 to 2021 to -19.5%.

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard, said: “The first week of reopening delivered an outstanding performance for UK retail destinations and stores, with an increase in footfall from the week before that was virtually double our forecast. These results provide concrete evidence of the desire of shoppers to return to bricks and mortar stores and destinations.

“The key issue for retail destinations will be whether this momentum can be sustained. From our evidence of the last two lockdowns, we are expecting footfall to continue to increase over the next few weeks, albeit at a lesser rate. However, the reopening of indoor hospitality on 17th May will provide a further boost to retail destinations as many indoor venues are located in high streets and shopping centres.”

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