Retail footfall sees October downturn as restrictions ramp up

Footfall weakened in October dropping by -31.5 per cent, compared with -28.2 per cent in September, which had improved from -30.8 per cent in August, according to footfall analysts Springboard.

The month was characterised by the introduction of greater restrictions, with the 3 tier approach in England, the two week firebreak in Wales and the closure of hospitality in Northern Ireland, all having significant impacts on the decline in foot traffic.

Looking at segments, footfall high streets felt the largest decline -39.8 per cent, followed by shopping centres which were down -33.1 per cent, with retail parks seeing comparatively modest declines of -11.9 per cent.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle commented: ” We knew that before the lockdown was announced that it was going to be a tough Christmas for retail with 61 per cent of shoppers already planning to spend more online this year, 64% planning on spending less and only 10 per cent planning to increase the number of gifts they buy. The spending lost from stores in these key trading weeks will simply not be recovered, so we have to expect the vacancy rate to rise even further in 2021.”

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