Footfall on the rise ahead of festive season

There was a marked improvement across the UK last week from the week before

Footfall in UK retail destinations rose by 4.1% last week compared with the week before, a “considerable improvement” from the rise of 1.5% in the previous week, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

In high streets the increase was even greater at 6.2%, nearly double the rise of 3.3% in shopping centres. The rise in footfall of 0.4% in retail parks was the most modest by far of the three destination types, however, it was still a marked improvement from the – 1.1% drop in the week before.

Footfall rose from the week before on every day last week apart from Sunday, and peaked on Wednesday and Friday when it rose by 7.7% and 9% respectively. In high streets on those two days footfall rose by even more by 10.4% and 13.1%.

There were increases in footfall across all types of town centre last week, with the greatest rises in Central London at 8.3% and regional cities outside of the capital at 11.4% as shoppers gravitated to larger destinations where Christmas festivities have commenced.

In Outer London and Market towns the rise in footfall was slightly lower at 2.2% and 3.6%.

The increase in footfall spanned every part of the UK, with uplifts in all UK geographies that ranged from 2.6% in the East to 7.6% in Wales.

Last week’s footfall uplift meant that the gap from 2019 continued to narrow to -12.4% compared with -14.8% in the week before. In high streets, the gap from 2019 was even smaller at -11.9% whilst in shopping centres it remained at -21.1% indicating that two years ago footfall was far stronger than it is currently.

Footfall currently remains more than double the level last year at 107.6% and 137.9% greater in high streets.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The beginning of the Christmas trading period began in earnest in many retail destinations last week, and it had an increasingly positive impact on shopper activity, ahead of Black Friday.

“In contrast with the week before when footfall rose at the weekend following the switch on of
Christmas lights in a number of destinations, last week footfall rose from the previous week on every day apart from Sunday when it was flat from the week before. Across the week as a whole, the increase in footfall last week was nearly three times that of the week before.”

She added: “High streets led the charge – undoubtedly supported by Christmas lights being switched on in town centres across the UK – with an uplift in footfall that was virtually double that in shopping centres.”

“Shoppers were clearly gravitating to larger towns and cities in order to soak up the Christmas atmosphere as, whilst there were significant rises across all types of town centre, there were particularly large increases in Central London and city centres outside of the capital.”

Footfall in retail parks rose modestly, however, it shifted into positive territory from a decline last week from the week before.”

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