As England emerged from its second national lockdown, non-essential retailers were permitted reopen once more on Wednesday morning.

By comparison to the previous Wednesday, this marked an 85.2% boost to all retail footfall before midday.

Significantly, Springboard research also revealed that this meant a 64.5% footfall boost across the entire UK, despite the national lockdown only covering England.


English retail parks saw the smallest rise in footfall (44.6%), though were only 3.1% lower than 2019 figures for the same week, while shopping centres saw the largest growth (133.2%).

High streets, meanwhile, bounced back over 80% compared to the previous Wednesday.

Springboard revealed that it had previously forecast a retail footfall rise of around 45%, based on Welsh results after the country’s two-week firebreak lockdown.

It said that the near doubling of its predicted figure for England hinted at a “lockdown fatigue” among the general public, hence the enthusiastic return to shops.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, commented on the return to business for retailers: “Thousands of retailers are welcoming back customers to stores across England. The run up to Christmas is a vital time for retailers, with one in every eight pounds spent in December.

“Following four weeks of closure, many retailers are extending opening hours, offering discounts, and looking at other ways to create an enjoyable shopping experience and bring back customers.

“Celebrations are a little different this year, but we all want to keep Christmas special. To avoid disappointment, and to keep everyone as safe as possible, we are encouraging people not to leave their shopping – online and in-store – to the last minute.

“This way we can ensure our fellow customers and all the store colleagues, warehouse workers and delivery drivers working behind the scenes, have the space they need to stay safe and well.

“The public can do their Christmas shopping confident that retail operations are covid-secure and retailers are doing everything to keep them safe.

“And with plenty of gifts and other festive items on offer, everyone can shop in knowledge that every purchase we make is a retailer helped, a job protected and a local community supported.”

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