Retail footfall plunges 11.1% amid widespread strike action
Shopper footfall plunged on Wednesday as retailers suffered the effects of widespread strike action. Hundreds of picket lines were mounted outside government offices, schools, hospitals, universities and Tube stations in the biggest walkout for years.
Mass walkouts caused an 11.1% fall in footfall to noon compared with the same day last week, according to figures from analysts MRI Springboard.
Retail parks have been the hardest hit with a drop in footfall of 21.3% compared with last Wednesday, while city centres suffered a 9.6% fall. The exception was central London, where footfall rose by 7.1%.
Up to half a million junior doctors, teachers, civil servants, lecturers, London Underground drivers, BBC journalists and Amazon workers took industrial action. The disputes are over pay, jobs, pensions, conditions and cuts, with warnings of more strikes if they are not resolved.
Hundreds of strikers protested outside Downing Street while the Chancellor was delivering the Budget in the nearby House of Commons. Following the spring budget from the Chancellor, industry experts in the fashion and retail space have suggested that the support offered is minimal to non-existent.
A rally in Trafalgar Square, which organisers said was attended by 50,000 people, heard strong criticism from union leaders over the government’s handling of the public sector disputes.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at MRI Springboard, said: “Footfall has been severely impacted by the strikes today, with a decline in footfall from last Wednesday of 11.1%. This decline is even more significant than usual as it comes on the back of reduced footfall last Wednesday, when customer activity declined by 13.9% from the week before due to severe weather.”