Footfall rises as impact of inflation looms

According to retail analyst Springboard’s latest footfall monitor and insights report, footfall at retail destinations strengthened in March to -15.3% below 2019 from -20.7% in February 2022.

Footfall improved in all three destination types, but high streets particularly benefited with an improvement of around a third to -17.4% below 2019 from -26.2% in February, overtaking shopping centres where footfall remained -21.4% below 2019.

Despite the strong uplift in footfall in March, however, Springboar marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle warned that this is likely to be the calm before the storm

“With the substantial increase in energy and fuel prices, consumers are aware that increased costs are on the horizon but have not fully hit and so are already being relatively cautious, and the concomitant rise in inflation that is forecast over the forthcoming months will put household budgets under increasing pressure,” said Wherle.

“Inevitably this will mean less disposable income and so some retail spending will be curtailed, particularly as we enter the summer period when many consumers will be looking to reserve budget to spend on much longed for summer holidays.

“Alongside price inflation, the longer term challenge for physical retail destinations is hybrid home/office working that now appears to have become widely adopted. With many employees opting to work at home for at least part of the week, the recovery in footfall – particularly in large city centres – has been constrained and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”

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