High Street

Footfall drops 11.6% as half-term boost ends

High streets (-10.9%) and shopping centres (-11.6%) suffered the greatest drop, versus a drop of -3.1% in retail parks

Footfall across UK retail destinations declined -9.3% last week from the week before, according to the latest data from Springboard.

High streets (-10.9%) and shopping centres (-11.6%) suffered the greatest drop, versus a drop of -3.1% in retail parks.

The decline in footfall averaged -11.7% between Monday and Friday compared with -3.1% over the first and last days of the week (Sunday and Saturday), reflecting the greater gains in footfall made in the week before last which averaged +15.5%, versus +1.9% on Sunday and Saturday.

Across the range of town types, Springboard said it was those who are “attractive” to tourists that recorded the greatest drops in footfall from the week before; footfall declined by -20.7% in coastal towns, – 15.1% in historic towns and -16.6% in regional cities.

However, the return to work meant that there was a noticeably smaller decline in Springboard’s ‘Back to the Office Benchmark’ where footfall dropped by -9.7% versus -15.7% across Central London as a whole.

It revealed the blend of office and home working continues to be evident in UK footfall, with declines in footfall in Outer London and Market towns of -7.1% and -8.1% versus drops of -15.7% in Central London and -16.6% in regional cities outside of the capital.

The drop back in footfall last week meant that the gap from the 2019 level widened once again, to -13.4% versus -10.9% in the week before.

The uplift from 2020 increased by nearly a third to +43.4% from +34.8% in the week of October half term, clearly demonstrating the adverse impact that Covid- 19 had on retail last year.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Footfall in UK retail destinations fell back sharply last week, eliminating virtually all the uplift gained in the week before last during the school October half term break.

“However, it is important to appreciate that this was an expected result, as footfall has dropped in the week after the October half term break in every year since Springboard started publishing footfall benchmarks in 2009.”

She added: “The fall back to the pre half term footfall level was not specific to any particular area, with all UK geographies recording declines. The impact of those returning to work last week after the half term break was clear to see, although it seems the hybrid of office and home working is still very much established.

“The drop in Springboard’s Back to the Office footfall benchmark was two thirds of that in Central London as a whole, at the same time the decline in footfall in Outer London and Market towns – which are synonymous with home working – was half that in large city centres across the UK.”

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