‘Pingdemic panic’ subdues June retail footfall

Despite footfall improving between the second and third week of the month when restrictions were lifted, footfall worsened over the month as a whole to -24.2% in July from -22.2% in June, according to the latest Springboard footfall Monitor and Insights report.

Whilst footfall rose by +16.5% on “Freedom Day” from the same day in the week before, it dropped away to a very modest week on week increase averaging around +3% on the following days of the month.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard explained: “The removal of all restrictions at the beginning of the third week of July led to a slight improvement in footfall from the second to the third week of the month.

“However, footfall worsened over the month as a whole, with the gap from 2019 widening from -22.2% in June to -24.2% in July.

“All three key retail destination types were impacted, but high streets were harder hit than shopping centres or retail parks; footfall in high streets declined further from 2019 to -30.5% in July compared with -27.2% whilst in shopping centres footfall declined by -30.2% in July compared with -29.1% in June.

“Whilst there was a clear uplift in activity of +16.5% on ‘Freedom Day’ from the same day in the week before, it was not sustained and dropped away to a very modest week on week increase that averaged around +1% on the following days of the month.

“This was undoubtedly due to a combination of weather – incredibly hot temperatures in the week of Freedom Day followed by rain the following week – together with the “pingdemic” which curtailed shoppers’ visits to stores and destinations in case it resulted in them needing to self isolate, a key issue for many people with summer holiday bookings in August.

“The longer term impact of Covid on stores and destinations is becoming ever clearer as we track the vacancy rate each quarter. The latest survey has identified that a greater number of stores are shutting their doors permanently; the UK vacancy rate rose once again to 11.8% in July from 11.5% in April, when it had improved from 11.7% in January, and it is now at its highest level since April 2013.”

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