Soaring footfall numbers for August boosts outlook for Q4 retail - Springboard
The popularity of UK staycations and daycations in August bolstered retail footfall, particularly on high streets, and even more so for central London, Springboard’s positive monthly report showed.
Although the lack of office workers and overseas tourists continued to impact the capital’s performance, with footfall in August 38% below the 2019 level, it strengthened considerably from -50.4% in July and is expected to continue to do so in September.
With many Britons choosing to stay home for the summer rather than risk overseas travel, high streets up and down the country benefited, particularly in coastal and historic towns.
That meant footfall improved from -24.2% in July to -18.6% in August, with the gap from the 2019 footfall level reducing to less than -20% for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Footfall declined from 2019 levels by 23.5% in high streets, 24% in shopping centres and just 2.4% in retail parks. What’s even more encouraging is that the indications were positive for all three destination types. In both high streets and shopping centres, the gap from 2019 dropped below -25% for the first time, and in retail parks, footfall was only marginally below the level of two years ago.
And it wasn’t just London that shone. Larger cities outside of the capital enjoyed improved footfall last month, nearly double that of smaller high streets, putting them at a comparable level versus 2019 for the first time.
Springboard’s UK Retail Consumer Report for August showed an impressive 89% of consumers felt some degree of comfort in visiting retail destinations and 50% were completely comfortable in making trips.
Some 47% of consumers visited bricks and mortar destinations at least once a week, far more than in the US where only 28% of consumers did so.
“This boost puts bricks and mortar retail in a good place at what is the start of Q4, leading up to the peak trading period of the year - Christmas,” said Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s Marketing & Insights Director.
“On the basis that nothing untoward occurs and restrictions are not put back in place, it appears to be a reasonable expectation that by the end of the year footfall will be just 10% to 15% below the pre-pandemic level,” she added.
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