Dec 9, 2021
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Central London footfall to suffer from Plan B restrictions says Springboard

Dec 9, 2021

The imposition of ‘Plan B’ anti-Covid measures on England will dent retail footfall, specialist tracking firm Springboard predicted on Thursday.

New West End Company

It expects footfall to fall to just half of its 2019 level in Central London and to be down 30% in other cities. That’s after London footfall had been recovering and was edging much closer to 2019 levels with only a 20% deficit.

But Springboard also predicts that in retail parks — where footfall is just 4% below the 2019 level, it could strengthen to -2% due to the drop in shopper activity in city centres. 

In outer London, it’s expected to shift from its current level of 10% below 2019 to -15%, while in market towns it will shift to 19% below 2019 from its current level of -16%, and in shopping centres to -28% from its current level of -22%.

It’s also expecting a sudden rise in online non-food spending again, to around 29%. The percentage currently stands at 22% and in December last year when restrictions were also in place (albeit more severe that those under the current Plan B) online spending on non-food stood at 30%.

Meanwhile, Jace Tyrrell, CEO of the New West End Company that represents businesses in Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets, as well the surrounding streets, called the Plan B move “a hammer blow”.

“While our top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues, and we fully support mandatory mask wearing in shops, a renewed ‘work from home’ order during the most important trading period of the year [is] a hammer blow for our retail and leisure tenants”, he said. “Many businesses have committed time and money in their Christmas plans in a bid to make up for last year's losses — vital investment that they won't be able to recoup”.

He also said “the Government must provide immediate clarity on the implications of Plan B for the retail and hospitality industry, and whether additional financial support will be offered to struggling businesses. Our hope is that a balance can be struck between keeping everyone safe and supporting the high street in its time of need. Otherwise we risk yet another miserable Christmas for struggling businesses and their staff”.

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