Footfall across UK retail destinations rose by a significant +8.2% last week from the week before, a greater increase than in any week since Easter 2022, when footfall rose by +15.1% from the previous week. The data from Springboard said footfall rose in all three key destination types – by +10.7% in shopping centres, by +8.7% in high streets and by +4.2% in retail parks.
Consumers appeared to have been visiting retail destinations for experiential days out, with footfall in coastal and historic towns +18.2% and +10.8% higher than the week before, and in major cities across the UK footfall was +12.5% higher. In contrast the uplift in footfall from the week before in smaller, more local high streets was more modest; +5.8% higher in market towns and just +2.8% higher in Outer London.
The week started quietly with footfall -8.3% lower on Sunday than on the previous Sunday as consumers clearly deferred trips to the half term week. From Monday onwards footfall was significantly higher than in the week before, with rises of +7.1% and +8.3% on Monday and Tuesday, with the uplift increasing further on Wednesday to +13.8%, peaking on Thursday at +20.9% and Friday at +16.7%. Activity was muted on Saturday with footfall -0.2% lower than on the previous Saturday.
Whilst there was a strong uplift in footfall of +8.2% last week from the week before it was not as strong an improvement as occurred in the same week last year of +10.8%. This meant that the year-on-year increase last week of +3.2% was more modest than the +4.8% year-on-year increase in the week before last. Likewise, the gap from 2019 of -13.2% last week was wider than in the week before last when it stood at -11.1%.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The school half-term last week delivered a welcome boost to UK retail destinations, with the largest increase in footfall from the week before since the Easter week in April 2022.
“Customer activity increased in all three key destination types, however, high streets and shopping centres performed better than retail parks, both of which benefited from twice the uplift in retail parks. Performance ramped up as the week progressed, with footfall peaking on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday trips had tailed off, and footfall fell marginally below the week before.
“All parts of the UK benefited, although the South West and Northern Ireland were the star performers, both recording a double-digit rise in footfall. The most modest increase occurred in Scotland, where the half term took place a week earlier.
“Footfall rose across all types of towns, but the largest rises occurred in coastal and historic towns and in large city centres across the UK which are attractive destinations for days out during the school holiday.”