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UK footfall bounces back thanks to pre-Mother’s Day boost

Tom Bottomley
12 March 2024

Footfall across all UK retail destinations jumped 6.6% last week, 3-9 March, compared to the week before, with high street footfall leading the way, up 7.9%, and shopping centres up 6.2%, with help from pre-Mother’s Day traffic.

However, week-on-week it was historic and market towns which saw the most significant increase at 10.9% and 11%, respectively.

That’s according to the latest data from retail analysts MRI Software, which also revealed that its Central London 'Back to Office' benchmark lifted 16.3% compared to the same week in 2023.

UK footfall in general rose 12.4% from last year, with high streets seeing a rise of 15.6%, shopping centres jumping 9.7% and retail parks climbing 8.6%.

Jenni Matthews, Marketing and Insights Director at MRI Software, said: "The week leading up to Mother’s Day, and two weeks out from the peak trading week for Easter, saw a significant rebound in footfall compared to the previous week and year-on-year.

"However, it’s important to note that some of the year-on-year rise in activity will be in response to a decline in activity experienced in the same week last year when adverse weather hit the UK impacting footfall in all retail destinations.

"It’s also very interesting to note, employees returned to offices and this was much more noticeable when compared with 2023 levels as highlighted in MRI Software’s Central London ‘Back to Office’ benchmark. This positive trend could be set to continue, and benefit retail, as more employers encourage regular office attendance, with Boots being the latest organisation asking for all staff to return to five days a week from September."

"Most significantly, compared to 2023 levels, footfall was six times higher last week in all UK retail destinations which may well have been influenced by shoppers heading out for last minute Mother’s Day gifts, or families heading out into towns and cities for leisure and hospitality experiences ahead of the special day."

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