Figures out this morning suggest that the reopening of non essential retailing earlier this month has been anything but a magic bullet for the retail industry.

UK footfall decreased 53.4% year on year during the second week of reopening in England and NI. This compares to a decrease of 81.6% year on year for the month of May.

Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 28.4% year on year. This compares to a decrease of 55.0% year on year for the month of May.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 60.7% year on year. This compares to a decrease of 84.9% year on year for the month of May.

Total Retail footfall for Monday to Saturday increased 7.7% week on week (we have not included Sunday as many shops were not allowed to open on Sunday 14th as this was prior to lockdown lifting in England.

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

“Retailers will welcome the rise in footfall during the second week since lockdown was lifted in England. Retail parks continue to outperform other shopping locations, benefiting from ease of parking and the larger proportion of supermarkets. Nonetheless, reopening is no magic bullet. Low consumer confidence and social distancing mean footfall is unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels any time soon. Without further increases in demand to drive consumer spending, many retailers will struggle to make ends meet, putting stores and jobs at risk. Government must consider ways to further stimulate the economy if it is to protect jobs, and reinvigorate our high streets and shopping centres.”

Last week we saw the UK continue its retail recovery, with Wales joining England and Northern Ireland reopening its shops. Monday sees Scotland joining the rest of the UK, with its own steady and restricted approach. The High Street and Shopping Centres showed signs of improvement and are starting to catch up with Retail Parks, albeit with some way to go. Monday and Tuesday may have benefitted from a spill over of consumer enthusiasm, but this eased off until Saturday, which saw a 16.4% week on week hike.

“Whilst UK footfall is heading in the right direction, early indications show that we’re following European trends, but slightly behind pace. The coming weeks will be critical. It may be too early to accurately predict how long this recovery will be, or where it’s eventually heading, but most retailers are doing all within their powers to bring back a confidence and enthusiasm for shopping.


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