Mar 13, 2023
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Bad weather dents UK retail footfall in latest week

Mar 13, 2023

Severe weather conditions were to blame for declining retail footfall across UK retail destinations last week.

Image: Pixabay

Shopper numbers fell 7% week-on-week across the seven days spanning 5-11 March, a far greater decline than in the week before when footfall had dropped by a modest 1.1%, according to retail experts MRI Springboard.

High streets were by far the hardest hit by bad weather with footfall declining 10.1%, versus a 5.1% dip in shopping centres -- many of which offer a sheltered enclosed environment -- and a 2.5% decline in retail parks, where adjacent parking facilities were also a draw.

Footfall declined each day last week, but over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday — before the worst of the storm hit — this averaged just -2.1%, versus an average decline of 13.3% over the three days from Wednesday to Friday when the weather was at its most severe. 

On Saturday, helped by calmer conditions, footfall strengthened with rises in customer activity from the week before in both shopping centres and retail parks (+1.9% and +1.4%) although footfall remained 6.7% lower than the previous week in high streets.

While the decline in footfall from the week before spanned all UK geographies, the impact varied with Wales, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland down 10.5%, 10.4% and 8.7% respectively, while Scotland footfall declined by just -0.7%. 

Results also varied across the town types, with footfall 11.2% lower than the week before in Central London, 9.4% lower in Outer London and down 10.3% in market towns, versus an 8.7% dip in cities outside of the capital.

Inevitably, the gap from the 2019 footfall level widened last week, to -15.7% from -10.9% across all UK retail destinations and in high streets to -19.4% from -11.8% in the week before last.

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