Springboard records halt to decline in footfall
At first sight a very marginal drop in footfall of just -0.1% last week appears to be good news for retail destinations in what is coming up to the peak of the Christmas trading period. However, it is critical to remember that this result is off back of huge drops in footfall in the same week last year when snow and ice swept the UK on Sunday shutting roads and transport hubs, creating difficulties until late in the week. This comparison meant that the uplift from 2017 in the first part of last week was +26.3% on Sunday and +6.6% on Monday.
By late in the week, however, circumstances last year returned to normal and, in comparison with, this footfall dropped on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this year. Footfall was particularly weak on Saturday this year due to the onset of Storm Deidre which brought driving rain to most of the country and snow in some parts. On Sunday footfall did partially recover, although still recording a decline in shopping centres.
Footfall performance varied across destination types over the week, with high streets and retail parks in positive territory, whilst in shopping centres footfall once again declined (by -1.8%) due to poorer results between Monday and Friday and on Sunday. Geographically, however, not all areas recorded footfall declines, with rises in four areas albeit all of which were from the Midlands southwards. Inevitably, footfall declined north of this, with the most significant decreases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.