Heat hits footfall

Springboard records fall in footfall during heatwave

With such extreme weather conditions last week it was not unexpected for there to be an impact on footfall, particularly as it coincided with schools breaking up for the summer holiday.

As occurred last year, footfall rose from the previous week, however the increase of +1.6% was only three quarters of the week on week uplift of +2.1% in 2018. The impact of this on the year on year change was significant, resulting in an annual decline in footfall of -2.9% versus just -1.1% last year. Both shopping centres and high streets took a hit, with annual declines in footfall of -4.9% and -3.5% respectively. In contrast, activity in retail parks actually increased from 2018 (by +0.7%).
The adverse impact of the extreme heat on Wednesday and Thursday was very clear, with an average year on year drop over those two days of -5.5% compared with an average of just -0.7% over the previous three days. However this impact was felt wholly by high streets and shopping centres, while in retail parks footfall declined only very marginally on Wednesday and Thursday by -0.5%. On Friday, however, when temperatures had cooled, footfall across all retail destinations only declined by -0.6% and rose by +1.7% in retail parks. Of course the extreme weather then extended into Saturday but with heavy rain, and footfall then declined on both a weekly and an annual basis, by -4.9% from Saturday in the previous week and by -5% from the same Saturday in 2018.

As is now the norm, on a geographic basis footfall declined annually across all areas of the UK. Over the week however, footfall increased in the majority of areas, with only marginal declines in Greater London and Wales of -0.4% and -0.2%. Given it was the first week of the school summer holiday it was unsurprising that footfall in coastal towns rose from the previous week, and at +6.8% it was good news for these towns as it compared with a week on week increase of +5.3% last year when we experienced a prolonged period of hot and sunny weather and consumers were able to plan getaways well in advance.

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