Jul 26, 2021
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UK footfall up in heatwave, but shoppers cautious as Covid cases grow

Jul 26, 2021

Footfall across the UK rose 3.3% last week (compared to the previous seven days) with a “staggering” 16.5% uplift on Freedom Day last Monday, although from Tuesday onwards the rise was only 1.7%.

Photo: Nigel Taylor

But footfall in comparison to 2019 levels was largely unchanged at -23.3% across UK retail destinations, versus -24.9% in the previous week.

That’s according to Springboard, which said shopping centres were a key beneficiary last week as their footfall rose 4.1%, while high streets were up 3.3%. Retail parks were up a smaller 2.5% but are the most successful destinations overall as they’re only down 3.6% compared to the same week in 2019. High streets are down almost 29% and shopping centres almost 31%.

Of course, the weather may have skewed las week’s figures as consumers made the most of the heatwave to indulge in activities other than shopping.

That also meant footfall in coastal towns was much stronger than in high streets generally with a rise of 11% from the week before. The exodus to the coast is demonstrated further by a decline footfall in Greater London of 0.7%, contrasting with rises of 5.4% in the South West and 6.5% in the East, both of which have long expanses of coastline. 

Springboard said that the “effect of the intense heat, the end of the school summer term on Tuesday and the nervousness amongst shoppers created by the ‘pingdemic’ was evident in the results”.

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