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UK: footfall improves as restrictions ease

Jun 4, 2021 United Kingdom
UK: footfall improves as restrictions ease
According to what has been revealed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), in the four weeks period running from the 2nd to the 29th of May, total UK footfall decreased by 27.7% in May (Yo2Y)
Given that 2020 was a turbulent year in which much of retail bounced between being open and closed, impacting footfall significantly, and to make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all BRC 2021 figures are compared with 2019 (pre-pandemic). This means 2021 figures are now year-on-two-years (Yo2Y), rather than year-on-year (YoY).

According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data, in the month of May, total UK Footfall decreased by 27.7% in May (Yo2Y), with a 12.3 percentage point improvement from April. This is above the 3-month average decline of 46.9%.

“May saw footfall levels improve across the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres. This was in part due to the further easing of Covid restrictions, including the reopening of indoor hospitality, which enticed consumers back to shopping locations knowing they could grab a drink or something to eat whilst enjoying a spot of retail therapy. The successful vaccination roll-out has also boosted consumer confidence and contributed to the improvement in footfall. However, restrictions on travel have denied many businesses, particularly those in our larger town and city centres, of vital overseas tourist spending. Nonetheless, footfall levels are still significantly down on two years ago. Many high streets have an increasing number of vacant shops, and many retailers still face significant and mounting debts, and with 2.9 billion British pounds in unpaid rents built up over the pandemic. The Government should ringfence these lockdowns rent debts to provide the breathing space for footfall and cash flows to recover, and enable landlords and tenants to work on equitable and long-term solutions for the future and avert terminal decline in many communities”, commented Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of British Retail Consortium.

Image credits: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash



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