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High streets and shopping centres see double digit drop in weekly footfall

Tom Bottomley
08 November 2021

Footfall across all UK retail destinations declined by -9.3% last week, 31 October – 6 November, compared to the week before - school half term week - with the greatest drops in high streets and shopping centres, at -10.9% and -11.6% respectively.

Footfall in retail parks faired better at -3.1%, but footfall dived by -20.7% in coastal towns, -15.1% in historic towns and -16.6% in regional cities, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

The drop back in footfall last week meant that the gap from the 2019 level widened once again, to -13.4% versus -10.9% in the week before.

However, the return to work meant that there was a noticeably smaller decline in Springboard's "Back to the Office Benchmark", where footfall dropped by -9.7% versus -15.7% across Central London as a whole.

The blend of office and home working continues to be evident in UK footfall, with declines in footfall in outer London and market towns of -7.1% and -8.1% respectively, and -16.6% in regional cities outside of the capital.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “Footfall in UK retail destinations fell back sharply last week, eliminating virtually all the uplift gained in the week before last during the school October half term break. However, it is important to appreciate that this was an expected result, as footfall has dropped in the week post the October half term break in every year since Springboard starting publishing footfall benchmarks in 2009. With high streets and shopping centres recording the largest gains during the half term week, it was in these two destination types where footfall declined most with double-digit drops.

“The fall back to the pre-half term footfall level was not specific to any particular area, with all UK geographies recording declines. The impact of those returning to work last week after the half term break was clear to see, although it seems the hybrid of office and home working is still very much established.

“The drop in Springboard's ‘Back to the Office’ footfall benchmark was two thirds of that in Central London as a whole, at the same time the decline in footfall in outer London and market towns - which are synonymous with home working - was half that in large city centres across the UK.”

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