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High Street

Footfall declines in lead up to half-term

The -1.5% drop was driven by a -3.6% decline in footfall in high streets, whilst footfall rose marginally in both retail parks by +0.9% and shopping centres by +0.4%

Footfall across retail destinations declined by -1.5% across the UK in the last week, according to retail intelligence experts Springboard.

This drop was driven by a -3.6% decline in footfall in high streets, whilst footfall rose marginally in both retail parks by +0.9% and shopping centres by +0.4%.

Whilst footfall declined by -3.6% in high streets across the UK, in Central London the drop was only a third of this at -1.2%.

At the same time, however, Springboard’s ‘Back to the Office’ benchmark, which tracks those areas in Central London that are dominated by offices rather than retail, declined by -4.2%.

Together with a drop in footfall of -5.1% in regional cities outside of the capital, Springboard said this “suggests that the drift back to the office has slowed, potentially due to the knowledge of the rising number of covid-19 cases being reported”.

Whilst there were rises in footfall in most areas across the UK for retail parks and shopping centres, for high streets there were drops in all ten UK geographies which ranged from -1.3% in Greater London to -6.9% in the North and Yorkshire.

UK footfall is +27.9% higher than in 2020, but the dip in activity last week meant that this narrowed slightly from +28.1% from the week before, and the gap from 2019 widened slightly to -15.3% from – 14%.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, added: “Footfall declined across UK retail destinations last week, which was not an unexpected result given that many schools have their half term holiday this week and a dip in activity in the week before the school break is a long term trend as shopping trips are deferred.”

Our insight shows that in five of the six years between 2014 and 2019 footfall declined from the week before in the week preceding the October school half term break.

She added: “High streets drove the drop in footfall last week, whilst it rose marginally in retail parks and shopping centres. It seems that the drift back to the office has also slowed with an even larger drop in regional cities outside of the capital, and in Springboard’s ‘Back to the Office’ benchmark.

“The drop in footfall in high streets was universal, spanning all UK geographies, but the most modest decline occurred in the Greater London region, which spans both Central and Outer London, whilst the poorest results were recorded in the North & Yorkshire and South West regions.”

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