Springboard detects uptick in pedestrian traffic
The benefit to retail destinations of the school half term holiday last week was clear, with a rise in footfall of +3.7% across the UK from the week before. Footfall increased over the week on six of the seven days, rising by as much as +9.2% on Sunday and +8.3% on Tuesday, with only Monday seeing a drop of -3.4% which would have been a result of the Bank Holiday.
Despite the rise over the week, on an annual basis footfall declined marginally (by -0.6%) which, although is consistent with the long term trend, is a much improved position from 2018 when footfall declined by -4.8% year on year. On Bank Holiday Monday itself, however, footfall declined by -1%, and by -3.4% in high streets. It was only in retail parks that footfall rose (by +4%).
All of the annual decline over the week as a whole came from high streets and shopping centres, where footfall fell by -1.1% and -1.9% respectively, although these were much more modest declines than last year when footfall dropped by -3.9% and -4.8%. In contrast, in retail parks footfall rose from last year by +1.8% which is a noticeable improvement on the annual decline of -1.9% recorded in week 22 last year.
Despite this improved annual performance, caution needs to be exercised in being too optimistic. Whilst the annual decline this year in all but one geography was more modest than in 2018, footfall was still lower than last year in every area of the UK other than Greater London where footfall rose by +1.5%. Greater London inevitably has a significant influence on the overall result by virtue of the far greater footfall volumes it generates, and this is particularly emphasised at key trading periods when London becomes a magnet for both domestic and overseas visitors.