Jan 4, 2021
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Post-Christmas footfall stays weak, London still struggling - Springboard

Jan 4, 2021

It will probably come as no surprise, but footfall to UK stores declined by as much as 23.2% last week compared to the week before. The biggest drop was seen in shopping centres that fell nearly 32%, while high streets were down almost 22%, and retail parks nearly 17%.

With UK stores closed, footfall plummeted last week - Photo: Public domain

That came as much of the country was either in a lockdown (in all but name) or was preparing for one with overall UK footfall down 55.7% year-on-year, tracking firm Springboard said. 

The annual figure was a 64.6% drop in high streets, 60% lower in shopping centres and almost 32% down in retail parks. In Tier 4 areas where non-essential shops were closed, footfall was 72.2% lower than last year, and while the drop wasn't as bad in Tier 3 locations, it was still just short of 34% down.

So much of the focus has been on England's tier system, but Springboard said that footfall in Scotland and Northern Ireland plummeted last week as these two nations entered lockdowns, with a drop from the week before of 58% in Scotland and 74.4% in Northern Ireland.  

Footfall in Wales only dropped marginally over the week (by 8.6%) but it had undergone a far larger decline in footfall of 59.7% in the week before when it entered its own lockdown.  

And in fact, in each of the three nations, the annual decline in footfall last week was greater than in England (68% in Scotland, 70.3% in Wales and 78.3% in Northern Ireland, versus 53.4% in England).

Not that certain key destinations in England could be complacent because Central London remained the worst affected area in the UK. While footfall in Greater London was down almost 68% year-on-year and 3.6% week-on-week, in Central London, it was down 87.3% year-on-year. 

That said it was actually 2.5% higher compared to the previous week. But Springboard said that this was unlikely to be good news for retail as it was “possibly a result of Londoners using the post-Christmas week to explore the City whilst it is thought to be quieter”.

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