Jul 14, 2020
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UK footfall recovery continues in July, but it's a slow climb upwards

Jul 14, 2020

UK retail footfall continued its recovery in early July with a week-on-week rise of 10.6% in the latest seven days, more than double the 4.1% increase in the previous week.

Image: Sandra Halliday

And it was the reopening of pubs, cafes, and restaurants that was key, which may not have a direct impact on fashion shops, but is an important part of encouraging consumers into physical shopping destinations.

In high streets, where the vast majority of hospitality outlets are located, the rise in footfall over the week reached 16.5%, which was good news, although we shouldn’t get carried away yet as total UK footfall still remains at just under half the level of that in early July 2019.

Those figures come from specialist tracker Springboard, which also said that in shopping centres, the increase in footfall was only 7.8%, although this is a positive result in light of the fact that far fewer hospitality outlets are located within these centres. If shopping centres and malls can repeat their high-single-digit weekly rises for the next couple of months, it would mean they’d be largely back on track by the autumn.

In retail parks, many of which have introduced coffee shops and some of which have added family-focused restaurants, footfall increased only very marginally by 0.7%. But footfall to these locations had been fairly resilient throughout lockdown as they contain many essential stores like supermarkets.

Overall, retail park footfall is now around a fifth lower than last year, while in high streets it remains 51.9% lower and 44.3% lower in shopping centres.

Across the UK, the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales clearly contributed to the overall result. Footfall in Northern Ireland rose by 21% as hospitality also reopened there, and the easing of travel restrictions in Scotland and Wales led to rises in footfall over the week of 11.8% and 13.6% respectively.

In England, it was encouraging that the footfall rise in Central London was 25% week-on-week, although it was still down 70% on the year.

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