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Industry News

Published on May 20th, 2020 | by The GC Team

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Streets of silence as consumers go underground

Retail footfall decreased by 84.7% in April due to the mandatory lockdown, marking a record decline for an industry undergoing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

With the majority of physical stores closed to the public, footfall on High Streets fell by 81.8% year on year, although fared better in comparison to Shopping Centres, down 87.8%, as local convenience stores saw a rise in popularity.

Shopper numbers in Retail Parks decreased by 62.4% year on year, with wider open spaces in comparison to other locations and a higher proportion of supermarkets helping shelter the sector from a steeper decline.

Helen Dickinson, Chief-Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “With lower footfall likely to continue, along with a corresponding fall in sales, and with demand likely to remain low, many retailers will not return to normal trading for some time, even when they are allowed to reopen.

“We will see an acceleration of many trends seen prior to the coronavirus pandemic – lower footfall as many consumers choose to browse digitally, and a corresponding rise in online sales. These changes are requiring retailers to adapt quickly so that the industry can meet the needs of modern consumers and deal with the challenges the pandemic is presenting.

“Ultimately, the very nature of many retail jobs will change, with impressive customer service and the effective use of technology becoming even more vital.”

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