UK footfall stays sluggish in Central London
Footfall in UK city centres may be starting to regain lost ground, but Central London is still lagging other parts of the UK. That said, London is starting to catch up after suffering a devastating plunge in footfall because of the pandemic.
Specialist tracking company Springboard said on Monday that footfall to regional cities was down only 27.9% in the latest week compared to late June 2019. In market towns, the gap was -25.5% and coastal towns were down 28.2%. But Central London was down 53.2% from the busy week two years ago.
Yet London comparisons are more flattering if we simply looking at this month. Springboard said “consumers gravitated towards larger city centres once again last week, with a [week-on-week] rise in footfall of 9% in Central London and a drop of just -0.9% in regional cities outside of the capital, versus drops of - 2.5% in market towns and -6.8% in coastal towns”.
Looking at the overall week-on-week figures, footfall in retail parks dropped by 2%, while in high streets and shopping centres it rose by 0.2% and 0.6%.
It shows that retail destinations are still not fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic and it seems that city centres continue to be affected by the lack of office workers. But for Central London, the absence of office workers is compounded by the absence of the all-important tourist trade on which so many retailers depend. It's unclear at present how quickly either of these groups of people will return en masse, so retail footfall could continue to struggle for much of this year.
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