May 9, 2022
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UK footfall is almost back at 2019 levels

May 9, 2022

Retail footfall in the UK is continuing to creep upwards in a clear sign that consumers really do feel normality is back. The latest figures from the Ipsos Retail Traffic Index cover the seven days to 8 May and show footfall down only 4.7% compared to 2019, and up 6.3% week-on-week.

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That’s the best result since before the pandemic and comes after over two years of the most painful shock that UK retail has faced since the three-day week in the 1970s or even WW2 in the 1940s.

Ipsos said towns outperformed cities by 0.9% points and the best-performing region was London/South East where store visits were down by 6.1% against 2019 and up 8.1% on the week.

That said, overall while towns were down 2.9% compared to 2019 and up 4.4% against the previous week, cities didn’t do too badly. They’ve suffered a lot from a lack of office workers commuting into city centres every day and also from very low tourist flows. But both are now recovering and city footfall was down only 3.8% against 2019 and up as much as 7.1% in a week.

Some areas are still struggling to catch up to 2019, however, with Scotland/Northern Ireland and South West England/Wales still down in low-double-digits on a three-year basis.

Looking at the figures as far as specific destination types are concerned, high streets were down 8.6% compared to 2019 but up 5.2% week-on-week, while retail parks were down only 1% on a three-year basis and up 5.2% compared to the previous week. Shopping centres remained down 9.2% against 2019 but were up 5.2% compared to the previous seven days.

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