Market towns enjoyed an increase in footfall as employees worked from home during the rail strike on Wednesday.

Central London, along with other city centres around the UK, saw a significant drop in footfall on Wednesday due to the strikes.

However, overall footfall across UK retail destinations rose last week from the week before.

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Much of this can be attributed to a rebound from the significant drops on the Monday and Tuesday of the week before last when the UK experienced an extreme heatwave. Looking at the latter half of the week, when the comparison was against days with more normal summer temperatures, there was a modest week-on-week rise.

Footfall was up 13.1% year on year, and up 6.2% week on week. However, it was down 17.3% versus the same week in the pre-pandemic year 2019.

Springboard marketing and insights director, Diane Wehrle, summarised this week’s movement: “Footfall rose from last week in all three destination types, with the largest rises occurring in high streets and shopping centres. All types of town benefited from increased consumer activity.

“Central London recorded the largest increase, although the uplift in Central London is likely to be due to increased tourism which typically occurs during the school summer break rather than employees returning to offices.

“This is demonstrated by the fact the rise in footfall was more muted in both Springboard’s ‘Back to the Office’ Central London benchmark and in city centres outside of the capital (which generally attract fewer tourists).”

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