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Retail footfall rises as office return continues

Footfall at UK retail destinations rose last week as workers continued to return to offices, according to figures released on Monday by retail analyst Springboard.
Footfall increased 2.2% on the previous week, with footfall on high streets up 2.6%, while shopping centres and retail parks saw rises of 2.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

Footfall rose in all types of town centre, with the largest increase of 7.1% seen in regional cities outside of London, versus a 3.3% jump in Central London. Springboard’s ‘Central London Back to the Office’ benchmark was in line with that of Central London as a whole, up 3% from the week before.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard said: “For the fifth consecutive week footfall in UK retail destinations rose last week from the week before, albeit that the degree of uplift appears to be tapering off. Footfall rose across all three destination types, however, the increases in all three were lower than the week before which followed payday, and which is often a driver of retail spending.

“Footfall rose across all types of town centre last week, with an acceleration in the increase in footfall in city centres outside of London accompanied by a lesser uplift in footfall occurred in Central London; in part this is likely to be driven by employees outside of the capital heading back into their offices to a greater degree than in previous weeks.

“With footfall volumes being much greater in Central London than in cities elsewhere, a smaller increase in activity in the capital versus cities across the UK dampens growth in high street footfall in overall terms. Whilst there was once again a rise in footfall last week, the modest scale of the uplift from the week before was not enough to narrow the gap from the 2019 footfall level, which widened from the week before.”

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