Lockdowns mean no last-minute rush to stores for Britons
It was a terrible end to a weak pre-Christmas trading period. No surprises that Christmas Eve, traditionally the most intensive selling day on the festive calendar, was a virtual washout, figures from Springboard show.
Severely impacted this year by the ongoing and expanded Covid-19 restrictions, total UK footfall up until mid-day Thursday was 40% lower that a year ago.
Central London was the most severely impacted with footfall 78.8% lower than last year. It also suffered a drop of 54.7% on a week ago.
High streets were down 46% year-on-year while shopping centres dipped 42.8% and retail parks fell 24.1%.
Overall footfall did rise 5% week-on-week and related numbers were up in all three destinations with retail parks performing the best at +10.9%. However, those gains were down mostly down to a last-minute rush to stock up at food stores ahead of Christmas Day.
Springboard said the impact of the tier restrictions across the UK was “very clear to see”. In Tier 4 locations - which account for 24.4% of all UK footfall - footfall declined 26.9% from last week while it rose in all of the three other tiers where non-essential stores are open. Footfall rose by 25.1% in Tier 1 and an average of 15.5% across tiers 2 and 3.
Springboard also said it was evident that shoppers continued to stay local as footfall in market towns across the UK rose by 11.2% from last week, and in the smallest shopping centres (less than 100,000 sq ft) footfall rose by 24.9% compared with just 2% in the largest centres.
Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard, said: “The continuing impact of government restrictions will no doubt be even more evident on Boxing Day as shoppers are encouraged to stay home and avoid the post-Christmas sales.
“Regional cities are typically the busiest trading locations on Boxing Day as shoppers clamour for bargains, however, by then, five of the 12 regional cities - which account for 45% of footfall across all regional cities - will either be in Tier 4 or full lockdown. Therefore the in-store experience of Christmas sales will not be possible for many as we near the end of 2020”.
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