Online & Digital

Black Friday fails to boost November footfall

Retails now face a waiting game on the impact of restrictions over Christmas

Footfall in UK retail destinations worsened slightly in November to -14.5% from 2019, from -13.4% in October, as Black Friday failed to give a much needed boost.

However, this is still an improved result from July when footfall was -24.2% below the 2019 level.

Footfall decreased across all three destination types from October, but the largest downward slide occurred in shopping centres which moved from -20% below 2019 in October to -22% in November.

In high streets the downward slide was just -0.8% (from -15% in October to -15.8% in November) and -0.5% in retail parks (from -3.1% in October to -3.6% in
November).

Despite the monthly result worsening there was some progress in the first three weeks, with footfall moving from -14.8% in the second week to -12.4% in the third week.

However, it was the relatively poor uplift in footfall in the last week of the month – Black Friday week – that impacted the month as a whole.

Footfall shifted downward from -12.4% in the third week to -17% in week four, as Black Friday was “weaker than anticipated” in all three destination types.

It was in high streets – where footfall over Black Friday declined from the previous week for the first time since the shopping event came to the UK – in which footfall dropped the most (from -11.9% in week three to -19.3% in week four).

Springboard attributes the cause of the ongoing gap from the 2019 footfall level to not having seen the “anticipated office return”. Some 53% of those employed continue to work from home for at least part of the week

It also noted the impact of the lack of international tourism, which it said is now “unlikely to recover quickly” given the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Diane Wehrle, insights director, said: “It is now a waiting game for retailers to see the full extent of the impact of the Omicron variant on bricks and mortar retail in December.”

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