The lead up to the school half-term week and the late May bank holiday weekend helped to strengthen footfall across UK retail destinations last week, with week-on-week rises over the seven day period from Sunday to Saturday in each of the three key destination types. Overall, week-on-week footfall increased by +3.3%, with a +4% uplift in retail parks, +3.2% in shopping centres and +2.9% in high streets.
Data from MRI Springboard revealed that footfall was stronger last week across all town types other than in Central London, where footfall declined by -2.3% from the previous seven-day period. In fact, it was a week of two halves for Central London with footfall flat from the week before between Sunday and Wednesday, and then an average -5.1% drop from the week before over the three subsequent days to Saturday as the great getaway for half-term breaks commenced. Not surprisingly in view of the start of school half-term holiday and with warm and sunny weather over the weekend, by far the greatest uplift in footfall of +12.3% occurred in coastal towns.
Footfall rose from the week before on each day last week, with the increase peaking on Friday at +9.3% from the week before as consumers shopped ahead of the weekend. On Saturday, footfall continued to rise from the previous week, but the uplift from the week before on that one day was much more modest at +1.7% as many people were travelling to their holiday destinations. In retail parks footfall rose on Saturday by +3%, more than the rise of +1.5% in high streets and +0.6% in shopping centres, but on Sunday it was marginally lower in retail parks than the week before (-0.1%).
The fine weather on Sunday led to a rise in UK footfall of +9.1% on that day, which was the greatest of any day last week. This was particularly the case in high streets where the +15.4% increase in footfall on Sunday was nearly twice as large as the +8.6% rise on Friday and more than three times the rise of +4.7% in shopping centres on Sunday.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at MRI Springboard, commented: “The week-on-week rise in footfall last week meant that the uplift from 2022 increased by a quarter to +5.1% over the seven days from Sunday to Saturday, however while over the bank holiday days the year-on-year increase averaged +4.5%. Over the seven days last week the gap from the 2019 footfall level widened to -12.1% from -11.6% in the week before last, but over the three bank holiday days the gap was more modest at -4.2%.”