UK retail footfall improves as Christmas celebrations begin

Footfall in UK retail destinations rose by +1.5% last week from the week before according to the latest report from Springboard.

However, performance varied between retail parks – where footfall declined by -1.1% – and high streets and shopping centres where footfall rose by +2.5% and +1.7% respectively.

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.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period. 

“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations. 

“In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”

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