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Feb 22, 2021
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UK shoppers continue drift back to stores, even though most are closed

Published
Feb 22, 2021

With the UK government apparently unwilling to allow non-essential shops to reopen very quickly, consumers appear to be voting with their feet and are continuing to drift back to physical shopping, even though most stores remain closed.


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On Monday, the latest footfall figures from Springboard for the week up to Saturday, February 20, showed footfall rising 6.8% compared to the previous seven days. This comes after several weeks in which footfall has continued on an upward trajectory.

And it's interesting that the biggest uplift was seen in high streets, where footfall rose 10.5%. It was only +1.2% in retail parks and was up 4.5% in shopping centres. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that shopping centres in general tend to become quite busy towards and during the weekend, even with the relatively small number of shops that are currently operating. 

Footfall rose on all but one day last week across all UK retail destinations, and on every day in high streets. In fact, the rises in activity in high streets last week were in double-digits on four of the seven days, peaking at +26.7% on Monday. 

Among the range of town centres, the increase in activity in Central London outstripped other types of town. Footfall rose by a staggering 23.6% in Central London, which in combination with a 12.5% rise in Outer London, meant that the average for high streets in the Greater London region was the second-highest of any part of the UK. 

But even with the increase from last week, footfall across all retail destinations remains 62.1% lower than in the same week last year, although in retail parks it’s 35.3% lower due to the frequency of trips to large supermarkets for food shopping. And Central London remains down 86% year-on-year.

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