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Published on October 26th, 2020 | by The GC Team

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September closes year-on-year gap in non-food footfall levels

The latest footfall figures for non-food stores released by Ipsos Retail Performance show that September marked the fourth consecutive month of improving shopper numbers since non-essential stores started reopening.

Footfall levels were down by -39.6% year on year, a slight improvement on a -41.7% drop in August and -53.0% in July. Average weekly footfall in non-food stores was just -1.1% lower in September against August, far stronger than the five-year average of -5.5%.

But despite signs of recovery in non-food retail, the data towards the end of the month raises fears that local lockdowns and national Coronavirus restrictions have damaged the momentum of the return of shoppers to the high street.

By the last week of the month, the year-on-year gap had fallen back to -44.1% as increased restrictions affected shopper numbers.

Dr. Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said the expanding number of local lockdowns and stricter socialising rules covering a third of the UK hit store footfall hard as the month wore on.

National measures introduced in England on 22nd September to further contain the virus also appear to have added to high street woes, he commented.

“Looking forward, if the restrictions continue to tighten and proliferate geographically, we cannot expect to see footfall continue to recover. More likely, shoppers will turn more readily again to the digital channel.

“The lustre of the Golden Quarter 2020 remains in serious doubt. Some retailers are already shipping seasonal stock to store in preparation for a long burn campaign beginning later this month. It simply won’t be possible for stores to accommodate the usual numbers of festive shoppers in the run-in to Christmas, so early store campaign launches are inevitable to get traction in till volumes.”

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