Jan 21, 2022
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UK footfall reacts positively to end of Plan B

Jan 21, 2022

A day after the UK Government announced the end of Plan B restrictions for England, retail destinations saw an uptick in footfall, according to specialist tracking firm Springboard.

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Footfall across the UK was 1.9% higher on Thursday than on Wednesday and 0.2% up on the same day last week. 

But perhaps an even better indicator is the extent to which employees are returning to their offices as work-from-home guidance is removed. Springboard said the signs are positive regarding footfall in large city centres and particularly in Central London.

The company said footfall in regional cities matched the UK as a whole but in Central London it was up 5.1% compared to Wednesday and 3.7% week-on-week.

Cities have been hardest hit in the pandemic as people shunned offices and public transport and shopped locally or online. Given that Primark had said earlier on Thursday that its city centre flagships were weaker than other stores, it holds out the hope that those destination stores most retailers have in their portfolios might soon recover.

There was some less welcome news in the figures though. While high streets rose 2.4% compared to Wednesday and shopping centres rose 2.4%, retail parks were up only 0.3%. And they actually declined 4.2% week-on-week. 

Retail parks have been key beneficiaries of the restrictions as they’re outdoors and local. But as consumers become less concerned about going to indoor retail locations and as they drift back to city shopping, retail parks are likely to take a back seat.

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