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Published on February 26th, 2021 | by The GC Team

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Retail footfall forecast to rise 47.9% when shops reopen

The reopening of retail stores on 12 April is expected to trigger the release of weeks of pent-up demand, after what has been a hugely challenging year for the majority of bricks & mortar retailers.

According to retail intelligence firm Springboard, “the retail industry is likely benefit from a surge back to stores as consumers rediscover their love for bricks and mortar stores, after many months of online shopping.”

When non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality reopen in England from 12 April, Springboard is forecasting that footfall across the UK will increase by up to 47.9% in the first trading week.

While this will equate to a rise of 128.5% from the same week in 2020 when the country was three weeks into the first lockdown, it will still be 61.8% below the 2019 level. The upward trend is forecast to continue, however, as children return to school after the Easter holidays.

Springboard is expecting shopper numbers in retail parks to rise by 26% in the first week of reopening, while high streets and shopping centres are likely to see significantly more footfall, up 59% in high streets and 46% in shopping centres. 

In the first week of reopening after the first lockdown, footfall in high streets rose by 46.6%. This time, however, the greater rise in shopper numbers is based on the fact that non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality will both open at the same time, and of the three types of shopping destination, high streets are best able to cater for both opportunities.

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, said: “As we approach the 12-month mark since the start of the pandemic in the UK, lockdown fatigue is at its height and the increases in footfall over the last five weeks have indicated the pent-up demand for a return to normality. We know from when non-essential retail reopened at the end of Lockdowns 1 in June and 2 in December that footfall will rise sharply and we anticipate this will be more prominent than ever before with a rise of up to 47.9%.

“By mid-April, consumers will be looking for sensory and social retail experiences, reconnecting with their favourite brands and purchasing new wardrobes for a summer of social events. We are anticipating a strong initial uplift in April that will continue to rise over the summer months as the economy reopens in the UK.”

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