UK footfall weakens as weather cools, but Central London sees uplift
Footfall to UK high streets dropped by as much as 7.3% on one day last week as Britain faced a sharp downturn in temperatures. But central London was strong with a 3.8% increase as consumers visited key parts of the city looking for festive fun ahead of this week’s planned railway strikes.
Figures from Springboard showed that overall UK footfall last week was up by a narrow 0.3% compared to the previous seven days. And despite some peaks early in the week, by Friday footfall was lower than the week before and on Saturday it dropped by 4.9% across all UK destinations and by that aforementioned 7.3% in high streets.
Tuesday was the strongest day with a rise of 6.4%, which is significant because that was the day before the really cold weather arrived.
And while these figures came ahead of the snow that fell on Sunday, it's clear that the current week is going to be badly affected as well. Snow has led to major transport cancellations, which means consumers won't be able to get to the shops and some staff won't be able to get there either. In fact, on Monday morning, railway companies were actively discouraging people from trying to take trains altogether.
Looking back at the week, just gone, footfall was up by 2.2% from the week before in shopping centres and up by 0.9% in retail parks, although it fell 0.9% in high streets.
Meanwhile, the footfall uplift compared to 2021 increased to 10.3% last week from 8.8% in the previous seven days. And high street footfall was a whole 16.2% higher than it had been in this week last year. It all meant that the overall gap compared to this time in 2019 narrowed to a deficit of 9.6%, which comes pretty close to reaching parity with the pre-pandemic period.
The increase in city centres is particularly significant in terms of getting back to what we would see as 'normal' footfall activity.
In central London, footfall last week was up 34% compared to a year ago, with that 3.8% figure compared to the previous week. And importantly, it's only 3.2% down on the pre-pandemic period, despite the fact that tourists haven't returned in the huge numbers seen before Covid.
In regional cities with London excluded, footfall was up 21.6% against the same period a year ago, but was down 3.5% compared to the previous week (perhaps impacted by the fact that the week before had included black Friday). Also important is the fact that such cities are now only 7% down on this time in 2019.
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