Heatwave fails to boost UK footfall in latest week
Hot weather isn’t for everyone. And it seems among those are shoppers. The brief burst of fine weather after a mostly dismal August did little to whet consumers’ appetite last week. So link that with back-to-school and it was little wonder footfall declined 4.1% across all the UK, latest figures from retail experts MRI Springboard show.
The key difference was the performance of high streets, resulting in a modest decline in footfall of 1.9% from the week before.
Footfall in smaller high streets was more resilient than in city centres or in towns that are attractive to tourists. In Outer London footfall rose by 2.1% from the week before and it dropped by just 1% in market towns, versus drops of 7.8% and 6.9% in coastal and historic towns, dipping 3% in Central London and by 5.5% in cities elsewhere across the UK.
In retail parks and shopping centres there were drops in footfall from the week before of 4.3% and 8.6%, which were largely the same as the week-on-week declines in the same week in 2022 .
Footfall only increased from the previous week on one day, with a rise of 10.2% from the week before on Monday (many children returning to school on the Tuesday) but this was in relation to a very low comparable in the week before last of -7.1%.
There were week-on-week declines in footfall on each day from Tuesday onwards. But there was a clear difference between high streets where the decline averaged 3.4% (with the largest drop of 7% on Wednesday) and retail parks and shopping centres.
The week-on-week decline between Tuesday and Saturday -- when pre-school shopping will have been taking place in the week before last -- averaged -6.5% in retail parks and -13.4% in shopping centres.
Meanwhile, the return to employees to their offices last week was clear, with an increase in the Central London with MRI’s ‘Back to the Office’ benchmark of +3.5%.
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