Footfall predictions jump as ‘more shoppers than expected’ return to the high street

Ipsos Retail Performance has uprated its footfall predictions for December after more shoppers than expected returned to the high street after lockdown.

Footfall in the first week after England’s lockdown was up +24.2% against the week before stricter measures were introduced.

It had been predicted that non-food footfall in December would be down -55.7% on 2019, but higher than expected numbers of shoppers has led to an improved prediction of -32.9%, assuming current Government policies remain unchanged.

Ipsos Retail Performance, which publishes the  Retail Traffic Index (RTI), the UK benchmark of non-food store footfall, found that the number of shop visits in the first week after the second national lockdown (w/c 6 December) was up by +24.2% against the final week of trading before stricter measures were imposed (w/c 25 October).

“We were all in the dark as to how shoppers would respond to the re-opening of stores in England after the second lockdown. Concerns over shoppers being put off from venturing out because of potential crowds were pitted against the feeling that many people were struggling for inspiration on-line and wanted to visit shops to stimulate their Christmas present ideas,” explained Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance and co-founder of the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank.

“The outcome was a small victory for bricks-and-mortar retailing; it was a busier week than we had expected in the stores that were able to re-open. Shoppers resumed where they left off in October, confident that retailers would provide a safe shopping environment and thankful to get out and about.

“The expected introduction of stricter restrictions in London and the South East could see shopper numbers fall in these areas, but footfall has remained resolute in the North and Midlands where tighter measures have been in place for some time, so the signs remain promising for the high street in the final week before Christmas.”

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