Oct 17, 2022
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Returning office workers boosts city centre high street footfall - Springboard

Oct 17, 2022

Any gains made on the retail front are welcomed these days, even slender ones. Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +0.8% last week (9-15 October) from the week before, according to Springboard, with mid-week high street footfall numbers boosted by a return to office working.

Photo: Nigel Taylor

This came in the face of “an increased level of cautiousness among consumers”, the Monday report noted, and the gains were a clear reflection of more workers commuting to offices in towns and city centres.

That helped high street footfall rise1.6% versus the week before, predominantly due to a bounce back on Wednesday (+10% compared to -15% on the previous Wednesday).

Overall footfall rose by 3.3% in large city centres across the UK, with a 4.4% increase in Central London in particular, “indicating a rise in office versus home working last week”, Spingboard confirmed.

However, footfall declined across all three key destination types on the usually peak Saturday shopping day.

Footfall last week was also 6.7% higher than in 2021, an improvement from the +5.1% in the previous week. The gap from the 2019 footfall level narrowed to -9.2% from -10.8% in the week before last.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “The increase in office working last week will have supported footfall across the UK, and in both high streets and shopping centres it rose in six of the 10 UK geographies last week. In contrast, in retail parks - which are further away from office locations - footfall declined in all but one area of the UK.”

She added: “Excluding [Wednesday], footfall was flat from the week before, a strong indicator of the cautiousness of consumers in the light of the current economic challenges. This cautiousness is particularly apparent in a drop in footfall across all three key destination types on Saturday.”

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