The latest data from Springboard has reveale that footfall across UK retail destinations declined by 75.1% in the week beginning 22nd March and by 81.4% the following week, suggesting the government-enforced lockdown is working. However, despite repeated warnings on the implications of coronavirus, the warmer weather brings dangers to the coronavirus pandemic as footfall leapt significantly over the last weekend as Brits looked to make the most of the warmest weekend of the year.
While footfall continued to decline annually, the drop last week was only around half of that in the week before. A slowing in the reduction of activity from week to week is to be expected as many consumers will have already curtailed their movement. As the week progressed the drop in footfall on each day from the same day in the week before became progressively smaller. In part, this will have been driven by a need to make trips to replenish food and household essentials.
However, Springboard highlights that the warmer weather brings cause for concern where on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April, when the weather was sunny, footfall leapt up significantly from the weekend before (by 9.5% on Saturday and by +21.3% on Sunday), despite repeated government warnings on the health and safety implications of visiting public spaces.
With the warm weather set to continue over the four-day Easter weekend, this brings into question what further measures the government will need to enforce to curtail this movement. With the closure of all but essential stores, the four-day bank holiday weekend will be unrecognisable in what is usually the most important trading period for retailers outside of Christmas.
Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “It is impossible to draw any real comparison between Easter this year and Easter in preceding years – we have never been beset with such swathing restrictions that have impacted the entire economy and restricted spending so comprehensively.”
With 2020 set to see footfall decline to its lowest annual level since records began in 2009, the likely outcome was voiced by a range of businesses to Springboard; 90% of these believe that it will be at least six months before their business returns to pre-Coronavirus levels, with 40% believing that it will take more than 12 months.