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Tightening restrictions hit shopper footfall

High street footfall “steadily dropped” throughout September as the tightening of COVID-related restrictions impacted retailers’ recovery.

This is according to the latest BRC-ShopperTrack footfall monitor, which revealed that UK retail footfall decreased by 30.1 per cent in September compared with the same month last year.

The figures revealed a 4.7 percentage point improvement against August but showed local lockdown restrictions weighed on shopping throughout the month.

“As the second wave of the pandemic sweeps the UK and additional restrictions come into force, footfall has steadily dropped during the month as many shoppers chose to stay at home,” said Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium. “It is likely that rising case numbers and future restrictions may see footfall decline in the coming months.”

Footfall on UK high streets declined by a concerning 36.9 per cent year-on-year – the most negatively affected location last month.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 6.9 per cent against last year. Thanks to wider open spaces in comparison to other locations and a higher proportion of supermarkets helped to shelter retail parks from a steeper decline, the BRC reported.

Meanwhile, shopping centre footfall declined by 36.1 per cent year-on-year.

Ms Dickinson added: “Despite this, September footfall remains an improvement on the previous month. It is likely that rising case numbers and future restrictions may see footfall decline in the coming months. Sales at upcoming holidays, including Halloween and Bonfire Night, are also likely to remain muted.”

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