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Published on November 19th, 2020 | by The GC Team

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Retail footfall advances in face of regional restrictions

Non-store footfall in October was up by 65.9% on June, when non-essential stores reopened, and was back to almost two thirds of last year’s levels.

The Retail Traffic Index (RTI) showed that average weekly footfall for the UK as a whole was +3.2% higher in October compared to September. This represents a further narrowing of the gap against last year’s levels from a deficit of -39.6% in September to -38.8% in October, despite the imposition of the firebreak in Wales on 23rd of the month and the local lockdowns elsewhere in parts of England and Scotland.

Contrary to expectations, shopper numbers across non-food stores in the UK rose against September’s in the regions most affected by the restrictions.

  • Northern England up 2.1%
  • The Midlands up 6.9%, having improved for six weeks on the bounce

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “The re-closure of non-essential stores taking place in England from 5 November is totally understandable and correct in terms of trying to contain the virus, but it is the last thing that retailers need, especially when people’s confidence to shop in the high street has steadily recovered over the past five months.

“This comes at a particularly important time of the year for retailers with the festive season fast approaching and Black Friday just around the corner – an eagerly awaited fixture on the retail calendar for the past decade.”

Ipsos Retail Performance had forecast that footfall during the week in which on Black Friday falls (the week commencing 22 November), would be the busiest of the year, with predictions of it being even higher than the week before Christmas.

“But for the first time in history, with the closure of non-essential stores in England at least, this will no longer be the case,” Denison said.

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