Shoppers undeterred by ‘rule of six’ says Springboard

The latest data from retail expert Springboard reveals that footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +2.4% last week from the week before. This week marked the first full week of the ‘rule of six’ being in force, which appeared not to dent the confidence of consumers to make trips to bricks-and-mortar retail destinations.

High streets saw a particularly positive rise in footfall of +5.2%. The rise in high street footfall across all UK geographies varied greatly, ranging from just +0.9% in Wales and +1.2% in the South East to +9.6% in Scotland and +12.2% in Northern Ireland. In contrast, shopping centres and retails parks across the UK saw a footfall decline of over -0.8% and -0.3%, respectively.

The range of results across the different types of high street suggests that the UK made the most of the warm weekend weather as market towns, which have been benefiting from consumers staying locally, saw a rise in footfall of +1.5%, while in Central London footfall rose by +6%, by +7.3% in historic towns, and by +4.4% in coastal towns.

However, despite this rise in footfall from the week before, the gap from last year widened slightly further, with a YoY decline in footfall of -28.7% versus -27.5% in the week before. Retail parks continued to far outperform high streets and shopping centres, with footfall -12.5% lower than last year, compared with annual declines in high streets and shopping centres of -34.3% and -32.6%, respectively.

Although there was also an improvement in Central London last week, footfall there remains -56.1% lower than last year, versus -45.3% lower in regional cities and -22.6% lower in market towns. In comparison, coastal towns, having benefited from staycations, have recovered most strongly, with footfall -17.6% lower than last year.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, comments: “After the first week of the ‘rule of six’, retail footfall bounced back after last week’s first decrease in footfall since mid-April.

“However, unlike last year when footfall also rose in this week, the increase in footfall was wholly driven by high streets whilst footfall in both retail parks and shopping centres declined from the week before. The fact that Central London recorded the second-highest uplift of any high street type after historic town centres, whilst the rise in footfall in market towns was the most modest, suggests that consumers were making the most of the last days of summer to travel further afield to enjoy the great weather.”

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