Footfall is set to remain below 2019 levels for the “foreseeable future” as the cost of living crisis deepens and working from home becomes a permanent fixture, according to the latest Footfall Monitor and Insights from Springboard.
Springboard found that footfall strengthened for the third consecutive month in June, with the gap from 2019 narrowing to -12.3% from -13.7% in May. However, it said this improved result was “wholly due” to the positive impact of the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday in the first week of the month.
The gap from 2019 averaged -14% over the subsequent four weeks in June, reaching -16% across all retail destinations and -19.5% in high streets in the final week.
It added that continued hybrid working continues to impact footfall in larger towns and cities; -21% below 2019 in Central London vs -9.9% in Outer London, and -15.8% in large city centres around the UK vs -15.2% in market towns.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director, said: “Whilst store sales are undoubtedly buoyed by spending from those middle income families who had saved during Covid, we fully expect to see this spending slowing as people gear up for the increase in energy bills in October and for Christmas.
“The results for June continue to reflect the impact on footfall in towns and cities of hybrid working. The trend that has occurred since the start of the pandemic for footfall in smaller high streets being consistently more resilient than in larger cities continued in June.”
She added: “In Central London, in June, footfall was -21% below 2019 versus just -9.9% in Outer London, and -15.8% below 2019 in large city centres across the UK versus -15.2% in market towns. These results reflect the findings of Springboard’s Retail Consumer Survey1, which indicates that around half of all employees continue to work at home for at least part of the week.
“Looking forward to the second half of 2022, in the light of the squeeze on household budgets and in the absence of a significant return to full time office working by employees, we anticipate that footfall will remain at least 10% to 15% below the 2019 level.”