Apr 7, 2020
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UK footfall uptick last weekend is worrying trend says Springboard

Apr 7, 2020

It may come as no surprise that footfall in the UK declined sharply in late March, but it's worrying that it actually jumped quite noticeably last Saturday and Sunday as UK consumers looked for something to do in the warm weather.

UK footfall picked up again in the warm weather last weekend

And tracking specialist Springboard said it’s concerned that the current warmer weather could see another leap in footfall over the coming long Easter weekend. While that would usually be good news, in the current environment with a continued need for social distancing, it’s worrying.

There are fears that if footfall continues at its current rate, the government could feel the need to bring in stricter measures that would hurt retail and the consumer economy even more in the long term.

The latest figures from Springboard showed that footfall across retail destinations declined by 75.1% year-on-year in the week beginning March 22 and by 81.4% last week. But on Saturday, it ticked up again week-on-week by 9.5% and on Sunday by 21.3%. 

The rise was particularly marked in central London, especially on Sunday. The figures showed a 51.4% Sunday rise in London and 32% in other large cities. Coastal towns rose 29.6%.

Springboard said that while footfall continued to decline year-on-year, the drop last week was only around half that of the week before as many consumers had already curtailed their movement.

Regardless of any new measures that may or may not be brought in if consumers don’t observe adequate social distancing, the fact is that Easter is likely to be yet another disastrous sales weekend for UK fashion and beauty retail. And online will be unable to fill the gap left by non-existent sales through physical stores. 

Easter is a key period for UK shopping and its overall impact on the year as a whole is large.

Data from Springboard highlighted that in 2019, the three trading days over the Easter Weekend (Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday, with stores closed on the Sunday) accounted for 38.5% of all footfall generated over the nine key shopping days in the year. 

The volume of footfall generated on Easter Saturday was 51% higher than on August Bank Holiday and 61% higher than on Boxing Day.  The only key trading day with higher footfall was Black Friday, which isn’t a public holiday and so footfall is boosted by journeys to work. Even then, footfall was just 7.8% higher than Easter Saturday. 

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