EDITORIAL USE ONLY People enjoying al fresco dining on Berwick Street, Soho as the neighbourhood welcomes back visitors. Picture date: Wednesday April 14, 2021. PA Photo. Artworks featured around the shopping district include two newly installed pink shimmer disk arches, a shimmering Union Jack flag and an installation by Kristjana Williams, which is dedicated to key workers. 30 brightly coloured tables have been installed with over 200 seats set up on Carnaby Street, Newburgh Street and Ganton Street for communal dining every day of the week. Photo credit should read: David Parry/PA Wire

Footfall to all UK retail destinations has barely risen since non-essential stores were allowed to reopen, and last week ticked up by just 0.5% as lousy weather once again kept shoppers away.

Central London, the area worst affected by lock downs and the absence of tourists, saw a slight upturn of 4.2% for the week of May 9 to 16 but remains 62% below levels seen in the same seven day period of 2019.

Retailers will be hoped that the opening of pubs, cafes and restaurants this week will encourage more people to make shopping more of a day out.


Footfall to all UK destinations remains 28% below levels seen at this time of year in 2019.

“Shoppers continued to demonstrate a greater desire to visit their local high streets than large city centres across the UK, although it seems that Central London is becoming more appealing with a rise in footfall last week that was the second highest of any type of high street, only lower than in market towns,” says Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, which compiles the footfall data.

“With indoor hospitality opening, the return of shoppers to high streets couldn’t come at a better time, suggesting we will see a further uplift in footfall as the opportunity to eat and drink inside protected from the elements will give shoppers an incentive to visit high streets more frequently and dwell longer,” she adds.

High streets saw significant uplifts on Monday and Saturday (+19.1% and +19% respectively) which were bounce backs from drops in footfall on those two days over the bank holiday weekend.

In contrast, stronger performance of retail parks and shopping centres over the bank holiday weekend meant that they lost a little ground last week.

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