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Retailers out in the cold as wet weather hits footfall

Wet weather dampened the number of shoppers visiting British high streets last week, industry data showed on Monday.
According to Springboard, in the week beginning 2 May footfall declined 4.1% week-on-week. Within that, high streets reported a 6.6% drop, retail parks saw footfall ease 1.3% and shopping centres were down 1.5%.

Diane Wehrle, insights and marketing director at Springboard, said: “Rain across much of the UK for most of last week meant that footfall dipped again. The impact of the rain was evident, with a more modest drop in the enclosed environments of shopping centres and in retail parks that are easily accessible by car.”

Compared to the same week in 2019, footfall across all destinations was down 25.3%. High streets were down 35.6%, but retail parks were off just 1.3%.

Wehrle said: “The ongoing resilience of retail parks throughout the pandemic in retaining shopper numbers meant that last week footfall in this destination was only marginally below the pre-pandemic level. However, it is likely be [high streets and shopping centres] that that receive the greatest boost from the reopening of indoor hospitality next week.”

Indoor hospitality is set to resume from 17 May in England, with more than six people or two households allowed to meet inside for the first time since 2020. The government is expected to confirm the plans at a press conference later today, and is also thought to be considering guidance allowing people to hug family and friends.

Overall, retailers have received a boost since non-essential retail reopened on 12 April in England. Monthly data from Springboard published last month showed footfall surged 241% in April year-on-year. Against 2019, it was down by just under a third, although that was a notable improvement on March’s 55% fall.

Non-essential retail reopened in Scotland on 26 April and on 30 April in Northern Ireland.

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