UK footfall sees north/south divide

Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across UK retail destinations declined by just -0.3% last week from the week before. This is compared with – 3.5% in the previous week which saw the first complete week of the 10pm closure of hospitality outlets. Footfall rose marginally by +0.1% in high streets and +0.4% in shopping centres and unusually it was only in retail parks where footfall declined by -1.6%.

The heavy rain in the first half of the week meant that between Sunday and Tuesday footfall across all UK retail destinations declined from the week before by an average of -5.7% (-9.3% in high streets) whilst from Wednesday to Saturday footfall rose by an average of +2.9% (+6% in high streets).

Latest data highlights that the impact of the 10pm curfew has been relatively short lived, with high street footfall over the evening period partially bouncing back from the double digit decline in the previous week. Footfall between 7pm and 11pm rose by +5.8% from the week before when it had dropped by -12.7%, and post 11pm high street footfall only declined by -0.4% compared with a staggering -26.4% in the previous week which was the first full week of the 10pm curfew of hospitality.

The change in footfall post 11pm did vary significantly across the UK with rises in footfall in the south from the week before ranging from +1.9% in Greater London to +6.9% in the East; whilst in the North & Yorkshire footfall post 11pm declined by -5.5%, by -11.7% in the East Midlands and -20.3% in the West Midlands.

The overall impact of the stronger footfall last week compared with the previous week was a slight strengthening of the annual result, shifting upward marginally to -30.9% across all retail destinations.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented:

“Consumers appear to have adapted their behaviour to accommodate the 10pm closure of hospitality. Last week – the second full week since the introduction of the curfew – the overall UK result was marginal. However, our data indicates that there appears to be a north-south divide in terms of night-time footfall bounce back, with southern areas of the UK recording rises in footfall post 11pm whilst there are noticeable declines in the Midlands and North where a number of towns have more severe restrictions in place. The exception to this is Scotland, where footfall rose post 11pm.

“The impending announcement from Boris Johnson later today of tiered restrictions across the UK, with more severe restrictions likely in the North, is likely to drive down footfall further in those areas facing the tightest rules around movement.”

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