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Published
Nov 15, 2021
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UK retail footfall enjoys early Christmas season lift

Published
Nov 15, 2021

Lights, action! Footfall in the UK rose in the latest week, boosted by the switching on of Christmas lights across much of the country’s retail destinations. Visits rose a modest 1.5% week-on-week in the seven days across 7-13 November, climbing back into positive territory after the previous week’s poor showing, latest Footfall figures show.


Image: Pexels


The latest rise was mostly centred on high streets and shopping centres, up 2.5% and 1.7% respectively. That offset a 1.1% decline at retail parks. 

There was also a clear differentiation between the Monday to Friday period — when footfall declined by an average 1.4% — and the first and last days of the week, when footfall rose by an average of 8% on Sunday and Saturday. And in high streets and shopping centres, the rise in footfall on Saturday- following the switch on of Christmas lights in many cities on Friday — was even greater, at 11.7% in high streets and 10% in shopping centres. The retail park footfall across the same timeframe was far more modest 3.2% gain.  

Footfall in Central London rose by 1% last week. However, with the widespread Christmas lights switch-ons taking place on Saturday, the benefit to footfall will be seen more clearly this week, predicted Springboard.  

In regional cities outside the capital, where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose 4.7% compared with just 1.4% gain in market towns.

Despite these early signs of the start of Christmas trading, footfall still has ground to make up as the gap from the 2019 level widened to -14.8% versus -13.4% in the week before last. In high streets, the gap from 2019 last week was -16.5% (-15.1% in the week before last) and in shopping centres it was -22% (-20.7% in the week before last).  

Retail parks remain the most resilient of the three destination types with a gap from the 2019 level of just -3.5% last week, however, the drop in footfall from the week before meant that this nearly doubled from -1.9% in the week before last.

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