City centres struggle to attract shoppers as footfall remains low
Footfall to retail destinations in the five weeks to October 3 continued to strengthen overall compared to recent months, but remained well below the levels of a year ago.
Tracking firm Springboard said on Thursday that it was down 28.2% year-on-year. But that was better than the 30.8% drop in August and the 39.4% in July.
However, within the month’s figures, there was some bad news as footfall shifted downward from -25% in the first week of the month to -28.7% by the third week as the school term started. By the last week, footfall declined by 31.4%, when greater restrictions on movement were introduced.
For the month, it was down 34.6% in high streets, 31.5% in shopping centres and 10.8% in retail parks.
Retail parks have consistently outperformed high streets and shopping centres, with footfall during daytime trading hours in September just 7.3% lower than in 2019.
While it’s the hospitality sector that’s suffering the most due to the 10pm pub, bar and restaurant curfew that’s denting evening footfall more than during the daytime, stores with longer opening hours could also be feeling the pain.
And stores in city centres, which are already reeling from the loss of office workers and tourists, are being impacted the most.
Footfall in UK regional cities declined by 35.8% in September and it was down by 56.4% in Central London, versus just 24.2% in Outer London and 23.5% in market towns.
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