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School summer holiday period sees UK footfall rise

Tom Bottomley
09 August 2021

Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by +1.4% last week, 1-7 August, compared to the week before, as the school summer holiday period got in to full swing.

The increase in activity in high streets was almost double the overall result at +2.6% week on week, while the uplift in shopping centres was a more modest +1% and the footfall in retail parks actually dipped -0.6%, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.

Buoyed by Brits heading off for ‘staycations’, footfall rose by +2.4% in coastal towns, while Central London saw a jump in footfall of +6.1%.

In market towns footfall also rose by +2.2%, which continues to reflect the benefit of home working to local high streets, while in regional cities outside of the capital footfall rose by a more modest +0.7%.

Footfall was stronger during the first half of the week when the rain wasn't so persistent, with an average rise from the week before between Sunday and Wednesday of +4.9% across all destinations and +8.1% in high streets. In sharp contrast, from Thursday to Saturday footfall declined by -2.3% across all destinations and by -3.6% in high streets.

The ongoing, albeit modest, rises in footfall from week to week mean that the gap in footfall from 2019 continues to narrow, and last week stood at -20.1% across all retail destinations. In retail parks, despite a slight dip from the week before, footfall last week was just -1.9% below the 2019 level versus -2.7% in the previous week.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “With the school summer holiday period in full swing, footfall across UK retail destinations continued to improve last week. In overall terms it was a modest uplift from the week before, however, footfall rose in high streets for the fifth consecutive week for the first time since June 2020 suggesting an underlying strengthening of customer activity.

High streets were undoubtedly supported by staycations, as in both coastal towns and Central London - the focus for many day and holiday trips - footfall rose by more than in local high streets despite the rain.”

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