Footfall in UK retail destinations fell in November but was still a “much improved” result when compared to July, when footfall was 24.2% below 2019 levels.
Retail footfall in November slipped 14.5% from 2019, compared to October’s 13.4% decline, with footfall declining 15.8% on high streets, 22% in shopping centres and 3.6% in retail parks when compared to pre-Covid comparatives.
According to retail analyst Springboard, the “relatively poor uplift in footfall” in the last week of the month, Black Friday week, impacted the month as a whole, with footfall moving from being down 12.4% in the third week to 17% in week four as Black Friday was weaker than anticipated in all three destination types. In high streets, footfall over Black Friday declined from the previous week for the first time since the shopping event came to the UK.
Springboard highlighted that the principal causes of the ongoing gap from the 2019 footfall level was that the anticipated office return was yet to take place, with 53% of those employed continuing to work from home for at least part of the week, and a lack of international tourism, which was now seen as unlikely to improve given the spread of the Omicron variant.
Another factor weighing on retail footfall was the long-term trend seen since 2009 of a decline in footfall in UK destinations of around 1.5% a year, primarily due to the migration of a proportion of retail spending online.