UK Easter footfall brings good news, but gap with 2019 still wide
On the same day as March spending figures painted a depressing picture of UK retail for last month, Easter footfall numbers turned up and showed that there’s some good news around.
MRI Springboard said on Tuesday that week-on-week footfall surged by 14.2% across all UK retail destinations in the week up to Easter Sunday.
Good Friday “exceeded all expectations” with footfall up 26.8% across UK high streets against the previous week. And it rose 15.6% year on year. It also increased by 6.2% compared to Easter 2022, which had been later in April.
Sunny and warm weather helped footfall surge across coastal towns, where footfall increased by a massive 61.4% on Good Friday compared to the previous seven days. It was up 42% in historic towns too.
Looking at Central London, footfall was up in single digits each day compared to Easter 2022, but saw some worrying drops compared to Easter 2019. For instance, it was down 13.3% on Saturday , around 10% on Friday and Sunday and down a massive 22.3% on Monday against 2019.
Overall, that 14.2% boost was the largest weekly increase since the period leading up to Christmas 2022. Broken down by destination, in high streets it was even greater at 17%, with a rise of 13.8% in shopping centres and 8.8% in retail parks.
But before we get carried away with all that good news, we have to remember that footfall has been sluggish recently and the gap compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic Easter is still in double digits with footfall down 10.2% this time.
And Easter Saturday was largely flat on the previous week with a rise across all UK retail destinations of just 0.2%. This was mainly due to drops in footfall in retail parks and shopping centres of 2.3% and 5.6%, even though high street activity continued to increase by 4.2% from the week before.
And while the full-week tally was impressive compared to the week before, for the first three days of the long weekend itself, footfall was only 2.1% higher than the week before.
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