UK high street footfall helped by school summer holidays
Footfall across all UK retail destinations rose by 0.7% last week, 6-12 August, compared to the week before, wholly driven by high streets (where footfall jumped by 4.8%) as the school summer holidays got into full swing.
Coastal towns, where many people are currently on holiday, saw a 2.3% increase, whereas footfall across UK retail parks and shopping centres saw a significant decline, which made the overall rise such a modest one. Retail parks saw a 4.4% decrease while shopping centres saw a 2.8% decline, according to the latest data from MRI Springboard.
However, in comparison to the same week in 2022, the result was a favourable one as footfall declined from the week before in all three key destination types last year. Indeed, footfall last week was 4% higher than 2022, which was a significant improvement on the annual decline of 0.5% in the week before last. The gap from pre-pandemic 2019 also narrowed to -9.1%, from -10.8% in the week before last.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at MRI Springboard, said: "With the school summer holiday in full swing, footfall across UK retail destinations improved only marginally last week from the week before. However, the overall result disguised significant differences in performance between the three key destination types, with a rise in footfall in high streets but declines in both shopping centres and retail parks. All of the rise in footfall last week was therefore driven by high streets.
"High streets were undoubtedly supported by the school holiday, with a rise in footfall in coastal towns - where many people are currently on holiday - that was more than double the UK average for high streets. In historic towns too, the rise in footfall from last week was slightly greater than the UK average for high streets, whilst the uplift in footfall in city centres was below the UK high street average.
"Whilst there may have been an expectation of a more significant rise in footfall last week than the modest uplift that occurred, comparison with the same period last year reveals a favourable result. While activity in shopping centres and retail parks declined last week both this year and last year, in high streets footfall rose this year whilst it had declined week on week last year.
"Footfall for the week as a whole was supported by significant rises in high street footfall on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday whilst in retail parks footfall declined every day from the previous week, and on six of the seven days in shopping centres. In coastal towns, footfall was higher than in the week before on all seven days, with double digit rises on four days.
"The rise in high street footfall occurred across all UK geographies, whilst in retail parks and shopping centres there were week on week declines in all geographies apart from Scotland where footfall rose marginally."