Oct 6, 2020
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Footfall weakens again, London still struggling

Oct 6, 2020

UK retail footfall remains weak at what should be one of the busier times of the year with a fall of 3.5% week-on-week in the seven days up to last Saturday. 

Photo: Sandra Halliday

And it seems that it's the evening that's suffering the most with footfall dropping 8.4% between 7 pm and 11 pm and 14.8% between 11 pm and 7 am.

While many shops have always been closed during those times, pre-pandemic, supermarkets were often open 24 hours and other shops would stay open sometimes until 9 pm or 10 pm. The proliferation of restaurants, bars and clubs would also help attract people into shopping locations.

But the restricted opening hours seen in recent months and the more recent 10 pm curfew for dining and drinking establishments have put a stop to this.

It was the second consecutive report of week-on-week footfall decline from Springboard and it wasn’t only the curfew that had an impact as wet weather also likely played a part.

The company said footfall fell each day between Wednesday and Saturday, averaging -7.1%, no doubt in part a consequence of the severe rain across the UK.

On a year-on-year basis the figures also look bleak with footfall across all retail destinations now 31.4% lower than 2019, despite physical shops having been open again for nearly four months.

Looking at the biggest sufferers week-on-week, Springboard said the greatest declines were in coastal towns where footfall inevitably dropped by 11.6%, and in regional cities with an 8.2% decline. By contrast, in market towns, the drop in footfall was half this at 4.1% and 6.5% in outer London, demonstrating that shoppers were staying local.

But central London fell 8.4% compared to the previous week and is down 60.3% year-on-year

The fact that footfall dropped only 0.04% week-on-week in shopping centres is significant as many of these are covered and so would have been more attractive given the heavy rain.

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