Retail footfall plummets 81%

High streets worst affected as government Covid-19 closures continue, though Britons flouted the rules leading to a spike over the most recent weekend

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 07.04.2020 | Retail

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Footfall on high streets, retail parks and shopping centres plummeted 81 per cent last week, compared with the same period last year, as the second week of the UK’s lockdown came to a close.

The figures, for the week beginning 29 March, were also down more than 31 per cent on the previous week, Springboard said.

High streets were particularly affected, with footfall plummeting 84.4 per cent year-on-year, as all but the most essential retailers were forced to close their doors by the government.

But a spell of good weather prompted more Britons to leave their homes over the weekend, despite government guidance against anything but essential travel and exercise, leading to a 9 per cent rise on Saturday 4 April, and a 21.3 per cent spike in footfall on Sunday 5 April. In central London, Sunday’s figures ballooned by 51 per cent.

With Easter fast approaching, a bank holiday weekend that is an important period of intense trade for many retailers, Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, says this year it will be “impossible to draw any real comparison between Easter this year and Easter in preceding years”.

“We have never been beset with such swathing restrictions that have impacted the entire economy and restricted spending so comprehensively,” she says.

It is expected that families will shop for chocolate, toys and other Easter gifts at supermarkets, which remain open, though with increasingly strict social distancing measures.

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