Visits to shops fall after strong pre-Easter build-up

Visits to shops fell last week, fresh industry data showed on Monday, after building up strongly ahead of the Easter holiday.
According to retail analysts Springboard, footfall across UK retail destinations declined by -7% last week from the week before, with a drop of -10.2% in shopping centres and -6.9% in retail parks.

High streets, however, benefited from activity on Easter Sunday which meant that the drop in footfall was more modest at -5.5%.

Excluding Sunday, the average week-on-week change was largely the same in both high streets and shopping centres, while in retail parks it was much stronger, supported by an increase in footfall of 8.8% on Easter Monday.

Springboard said shopping centres performed poorly between Monday and Thursday, with footfall over those four days averaging -7.6% from the week before, versus -4.1% in high streets.

Shopping centres did, however, bounce back on Friday and Saturday, with a rise over the two days that averaged 2.3%, versus a -5.3% drop on high streets and -0.2% in retail parks.

Despite the drop in footfall from the week before, the gap from the 2019 footfall level narrowed to -12.8% from -15.4% in the week before last.

Springboard said footfall last week was also 12.7% higher than in the same week last year, which was only the second trading week after the end of the third lockdown, when restrictions on mask wearing and social distancing were still in place.

“The overall result for last week was significantly impacted by drops in footfall on both Easter Sunday – when stores were closed – and on Easter Monday, when only retail parks recorded an increase in footfall, most probably driven by shoppers restocking on food and groceries following the Easter weekend,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard.

“Over the rest of the week, despite the continuation of the dry and sunny weather over much of the UK, footfall declined from the week before on every day other than Tuesday – a sharp contrast with the week before last when footfall had increased every day in the lead up to Easter, and also on Good Friday and Easter Saturday.”

Wehrle added that, as they had been during Easter week, shopping centres were the hardest hit.

“They underperformed high streets and retail parks from Monday to Thursday, although they then outperformed them both on Friday – although still negative – and then rebounded into positive territory on Saturday which contrasted with a drop in high street footfall.”

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