Jan 11, 2021
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UK footfall declines but drop is lowest in high-infection areas - Springboard

Jan 11, 2021

It’s no surprise that UK footfall has fallen as England’s third lockdown kicks in. But it’s perhaps more shocking that the smallest fall is in London and the South East where Covid infection rates are highest.

Photo: Public domain

Week-on-week, in the South East and Greater London, footfall declined by only 8% and 10.7% respectively, in comparison to the rest of England where the decline exceeded 35%.

On Monday, specialist tracking firm Springboard said footfall across UK retail destinations declined by 27.1% last week from the week before, which follows a drop of 23.2% in the previous week. 

And it fell 35% in shopping centres, 26% in high streets and 21.3% in retail parks.

All non-essential stores are now closed across the UK, which is why shopping centres were the worst affected as they contain few ‘essential’ stores. That’s also why retail parks performed the best of the three destination types.

In the week commencing January 3, year-on-year footfall in England was down 63.7%, in Scotland it fell 66.2%, in Wales 66.2% and in Northern Ireland 68.4%. But week-on-week, while it was down 30.4% in England, it only fell 0.4% in Scotland and actually rose 10% in Wales and 27.1% in Northern Ireland.

Despite London as a whole seeing only a tame footfall decline, this was largely driven by outer London that was down just 6.8% week-on-week with the city centre down 25.9%.

Even so, while Central London has generally been the biggest sufferer throughout the pandemic, that almost-26% decline was actually less than the drop seen in other regional cities (where visitor traffic fell by at least 35%).

Year-on-year footfall across the UK dropped by almost 64% with shopping centres and high streets both down over 70% and retail parks declining only 42%.

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