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Industry News

Published on August 25th, 2020 | by The GC Team


Shoppers are back! Retail footfall recovering

Retail footfall may still be lagging behind that of 2019, but last week’s shopper numbers showed a marked increase on the prior week with shopping centres the most popular destination.

Figures released by Springboard show footfall up 4.1% during the week ended 22nd August, compared to a rise of 0.8% in the previous seven-day period.

Shopping centre numbers increased by 7.1%, high streets by 3.2% and retail parks by 2.7%.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, suggested increased quarantine measures imposed on returning overseas holiday makers may have had a positive effect on footfall. 

She added that this was the sixteenth consecutive week in which the annual decline has lessened, “which offers a glimmer of hope for retailers.”

Footfall in Greater London and the South East rose 6.8% and 7.1% respectively, after a decline in both regions during the previous week. The figures also showed a marked improvement on the same week last year, which recorded rises of 1.6% and 2.2% respectively.

Nigel Naylor-Smith, Head of Retail and Hospitality at Fujitsu UK, said the uplift had been supported by the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

“After months of challenges during lockdown, news that the number of visits to UK retail destinations increased yet again last week should offer the sector some much needed respite. With retailers up and down the country making health and safety a priority for their staff and customers, it’s fantastic to see so many consumers regain the confidence they need to return to the high street. This return has undoubtedly been supported by the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which should be extended into September.

“With consumer demand initially upended as a result of social distancing measures, and leading to consumers predominantly buying online-only, it’s reassuring to see a semblance of normality resume in towns and city centres as shoppers re-visit bricks and mortar stores.”

Looking ahead, Naylor-Smith said that many households are likely to tighten their belts due to economic factors, and spending on non-essential items is likely to take a hit. “For retailers to continue to thrive,” he said, “they must continue to invest in their online infrastructure and differentiating their in-store customer experience if they are to retain the same shopper loyalty and drive footfall and sales.”

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