UK pre-Christmas retail footfall brings slight cheer for city centres and malls
First the good news. Footfall across all UK retail destinations for the week beginning 6 December was up by a fifth on the previous seven days, according to Springboard.
And the not-so-good news? Footfall across all destinations in the same week was down 30% on the same period last year, with a sizeable number of consumers still appearing to be avoid physical shopping in the critical trading period.
In the second week following the reopening of non-essential retail stores, shopping centres enjoyed the strongest week-on-week patronage and retail parks were not far off maintaining their year-on-year appeal, the latest figures show.
Shopping centre footfall rose 26.3% on a week-on-week basis, with high streets up 21.1% and retail parks rising 9%, up 15.5% for those parks dominated by high street retailers.
Springboard noted the ongoing attractiveness of retail parks to shoppers is evident by the fact footfall in this destination type is now just 8.6% lower than last year.
But while any gain will come as a great relief for many beleaguered retailers, high street footfall was still down over 38% on a year-on-year basis, and shopping centre visits were down 33% on a year ago.
Footfall rose in large city centres by slightly more than in smaller towns (+29.7% in regional cities versus +20.9% in market towns), but by far the greatest increase occurred in the largest shopping centres across the UK (more than 0.5 million sq ft) where footfall rose 35.5%.
“These results are not unexpected, given the proclivity of shoppers to head for the largest destinations which have the widest product choice for Christmas shopping”, Springboard said.
On a week-on-week basis, footfall rose in all periods across the entire day, although during daytime trading hours the increase was greater than after 6pm (+20.4% between 9am and 6pm, versus +16.9% from 6pm to midnight).
“This is good news for retailers as it indicates that shoppers are utilising extended trading hours, although the vast majority of all footfall over the period is still accounted for by the 9am to 6pm period (84%)”, Springboard added.
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