April sees greatest ever decline in retail footfall as lockdown continues

Springboard reports an -80.1 per cent footfall nosedive

The latest retail footfall figures from analyst Springboard reveals that footfall in April saw a decline of 80.1 per cent.

Retail parks fared best, with a -68.1 per cent drop in footfall, due to the presence of essential food stores. Footfall in high streets declined by -83.3 per cent and by -84.8 per cent in shopping centres.

Despite the lockdown restrictions, footfall strengthened slightly in the second half of the month; moving from an average of -81.4 per cent in the first two weeks to -77.4 per cent in weeks three and four.

Footfall shifted away from large towns and cities to smaller more local centres. The 20 high streets with the most modest drops in footfall in April (each less than -60 per cent) are all small centres. In contrast the 20 high streets with the greatest drops in footfall, which average -89.7 per cent, comprise major city centres and large towns.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director said: “In contrast to pre-Coronavirus days when small high streets were facing an increasing struggle to attract shoppers, the path of recovery for retail may well be led by smaller high streets which can offer both safety and community benefits. For larger destinations, the emphasis on safety suggests that those environments that have the capability to control shopper numbers – such as retail parks and shopping centres – will be the next phase of recovery, followed by large towns and cities which inevitably face issues around pedestrian congestion.

“Given the prevailing concern for the safety of both customers and staff post lock down, it is clear that tracking the level of occupancy, and being seen to do so, will be key in ensuring retail destinations can deliver environments that returning shoppers will feel comfortable in visiting.”

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