Footfall to retail destinations has been recovering since the original lockdown in 2020, but 2021 still saw a disastrous fall of 31.1% compared to 2019, tracking specialist Springboard said on Monday.
Early signs of the confidence shown by workers returning to their offices saw a boost for UK high street footfall in the latest week. Footfall across UK retail destinations rose 1.5%, according to Springboard.
City centre retail destinations may not have actually been deserted in the latest week, but with advice to work from home still in force, footfall to those locations was down by a big percentage in the seven days.
Hopes for a last-minute Christmas boost for physical retail were dashed on three fronts in December. They were the rise of Omicron, more people home working, and consumer worries missing out on Christmas celebrations.
The fear of catching the fast-spreading Omicron Covid-19 variant before Christmas looks to have rocked shopper confidence over the final weekend, latest footfall figures from Springboard and Sensormatic show.
The increasing threat of the new Omicron Covid variant hit UK retail footfall in the latest trading week (5-11 December). Visits across UK retail destinations declined 1.1% week-on-week, according to Springboard.