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Dec 15, 2022
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Snow and rail strikes drive UK retail footfall plunge

Published
Dec 15, 2022

Retail is facing a perfect storm of sales-suppressing issues with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis now being joined by bad weather and rail strikes that have driven footfall down at a crucial period in the ‘golden quarter’.


Photo: Pexels/Public domain



Retail data analyst Springboard said footfall to physical stores plummeted on Tuesday. That was two days after heavy snowfall and the same day as a 48-hour national rail strike began. And while the weather is set to become milder, strikes are also planned for Friday and Saturday, two of the key shopping days on the festive calendar.

Office occupancy data also showed that fewer people made it into work on Monday (when the snow led rail operators to advise people against travelling), which would also have dented visits to retail stores.

Footfall to all retail destinations fell 17.2% week on week on Tuesday, while high streets were down 26.4% compared to pre-Covid levels, having drawn level with 2019 in the previous week. 

Central London footfall collapsed 31% week on week as the city was particularly badly affected. Footfall at stores near offices was down 37% against the same pre-pandemic day compared to a 26% drop nationwide.

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