Footfall at UK retail destinations fell last week as the summer holidays came to an end, according to research released on Monday by retail analysts Springboard.
Footfall declined by 4.2% from the previous week, meaning the gap from the 2019 footfall level widened last week to -17.3% from -15.8% the week before.
Shopping centres fared the worst with a 7.7% drop in footfall, while retail parks saw a 4.7% fall and high streets saw footfall decline 2.2%.
Retail footfall in coastal towns was down 10.4%, having been boosted in the prior weeks by the summer holidays, but market towns and Outer London saw increases of 2.6% and 3% respectively. Across Central London as a whole, footfall was 7.8% lower on the previous weel but Springboard’s ‘Central London Back to Office Footfall Benchmark’ showed a 4.2% rise.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said: “If any evidence is required as to the relevance of footfall as an indicator of consumer activity it was provided by the results for last week; the commencement of the school term and the return to work of those who had been on holiday led to a decline in footfall across all retail destinations last week from the week before, with a far greater drop in activity in coastal towns which had been visited by many for staycations and daycations over the summer.
“In contrast, footfall rose from the week before in both Outer London town centres and in market towns whilst declining in both Central London and in regional cities outside of the capital, demonstrating that the majority of employees continue to work from home. Working at home is clearly supporting high streets generally, with a decline in high street footfall across the UK last week from the week before that was less than a third of that in shopping centres and half that in retail parks.”