UK footfall plummets during England’s second lockdown

UK footfall decreased by 65 per cent year on year last month, with a 31.9 percentage point decline from October.

This news may not come as a big surprise, as England went into its second national lockdown in November. Others parts of the UK did not have the same restrictions.

“With the majority of stores closed, many missed out on the usual Black Friday boost to store visits as customers hunted for bargains online instead,” commented Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of British Retail Consortium.

Retail parks were hit less hard thanks to a higher proportion of supermarkets and other essential stores in those locations, slightly mitigating the overall drop in footfall.

Ms Dickinson added: “Now that all of retail is open again, customers can get out and do their Christmas shopping confident that stores are COVID-secure and retailers are doing everything to keep them safe.”

According to the latest BRC-ShopperTrak report covering the four weeks 1 – 28 November 2020, footfall on high streets declined by nearly 64 per cent year on year. This was the worst performing location in November and for the fourth consecutive month.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 26.8 per cent y-o-y while shopping centres saw nearly 62 per cent less customers.

In England, non-essential shops and other businesses were permitted to reopen on 2 December for the first time in four weeks. On this day, footfall increased by a whopping 150 per cent compared with the previous week (25 November).

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant – EMEA at ShopperTrak, said: “Not even Black Friday could loosen the grim grip of lockdown, which wiped out footfall on the high street in November.  Forced to close just at the time they needed to capitalise on Christmas trade, the real test now comes as those retailers can reopen.

“Re-instilling consumer confidence in the safety of stores is key to ensuring shoppers return, as well as using extended opening hours, with some retailers trading 24/7 in December, to reduce the pressure on the store network and improve customer-experience.”