2020 saw retail footfall fall over 40 per cent as the country suffered two lockdowns.

Total year on year footfall for 2020 fell by 43.4% according to the British Retail Consortium.

Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 17.3% year on year, slightly better than the 3-month average decline of 17.8% and worse than the 12-month average decline of 23.8% while shopping Centre footfall declined by 47.3% year on year. This was just over a twenty-four-percentage point decline compared to October and was just below the 12-month average decline of 47.4%.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium said:

“Covid has led to 2020 being the worst year on record for retail sales growth. Physical non-food stores – including all of ‘non-essential’ retail – saw sales drop by a quarter compared with 2019. Christmas offered little respite for these retailers, as many shops were forced to shut during the peak trading period. Though this led to a rise in food-based gifts as many shoppers bought what they could from the shops that were still open.

“With shops still closed for the foreseeable future, costing stores billions in lost sales, many retailers are struggling to survive. To avoid the unnecessary loss of shops and jobs Government should announce an extension to business rates relief for the worst-affected businesses as soon as possible. With many retailers making decisions over their future, the Government must act decisively.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG
“In the most important month for the retail industry, there was some positive growth due to the on-going shift of expenditure from other categories such as travel and leisure.  Once again we saw big swings in the types of products being purchased and the channels used for shopping, with much of the growth taking place online where nearly half of all non-food purchases were made. Household related and food item purchases were top of Christmas shopping lists with historic growth rates in contrast to fashion, accessories and beauty products which experienced double-digit declines.

“Further restrictions and the closure of many non-essential shops resulted in a dismal December performance for those retailers on the high street and conditions will continue to be challenging as we enter another national lockdown. Consumer behaviour will also continue to evolve and retailers must embrace the changes if they are to hold on to hard won customers and generate profitable sales.

”Looking ahead, fortunes will be mixed but pent up savings and a successful vaccine roll out will help support recovery in the retail sector later in the year. Retailers will also be hoping that the reopening of high streets and shopping centres will see a return to more normal levels of footfall.”


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