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UK Retail Footfall Rally Halted By Local Lockdowns And Second Wave

Fri, 9th Oct 2020 05:05

(Alliance News) - The decline in UK retail footfall eased slightly in September, according to numbers on Friday, but rising virus cases and the additional restrictions which came with led to many shoppers staying at home.

Year-on-year, footfall was down 30%, numbers from the British Retail Consortium-ShopperTrak monitor showed. It was a 4.7 percentage point improvement from August and the 30% decline was fractionally below the average fall over the past 12 months.

High streets were worst hit again in September, footfall there was down 37%. In shopping centres, footfall dropped 36%.

Retail parks benefited from wider open spaces which make social distancing easier. Footfall in retail parks fell 6.9% annually in September.

"As the second wave of the pandemic sweeps the UK and additional restrictions come into force, footfall has steadily dropped during the month as many shoppers chose to stay at home. Despite this, September footfall remains an improvement on the previous month. Retail parks, while down on a year ago, continue to perform significantly better than high streets and shopping centres thanks to the prevalence of supermarket stores and the availability of onsite parking," BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said.

"It is likely that rising case numbers and future restrictions may see footfall decline in the coming months. Sales at upcoming holidays, including Halloween and Bonfire night, are also likely to remain muted."

Andy Sumpter, a ShopperTrak retail consultant for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region, added September was a month of mixed footfall figures. The beginning of the month carried some of the momentum from the final week of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, helping push footfall to a post-lockdown peak.

"However, as the stimulus package ended, so did the recovery in shopper traffic. We saw diminished footfall each week during September, dropping 9 percentage points by the end of the month," Sumpter added.

"The roll out of increased local restrictions and lockdowns, with a quarter of the UK population placed under stricter rules in September, could be undermining consumer confidence in bricks-and-mortar shopping."

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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