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Retail footfall growth slows as stricter measures come into place


Retail data for September shows a decrease in footfall as tightening restrictions came into force.

Year-on-year UK footfall decreased by 30.1% in September, with only a 4.7 percentage point improvement from August.

This remains below the longer-term 12-month average decline of 30.3%.

Footfall on high streets declined by 36.9% year-on-year, making them the most negatively affected location in September, again falling below shopping centres for the second time since April 2018.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 6.9% year-on-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.

Shopping centre footfall declined by 36.1% year-on-year, just over a percentage point shallower than in August but remained below its 12-month average decline of 35.2%.

In the first week of September, year-on-year footfall was -24.3%, falling steadily over the month to -33.6% in the fifth week.

Reflecting on the data, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief-executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “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.

“Despite this, September footfall remains an improvement on the previous month. Retail parks, while down on a year ago, continue to perform significantly better than high streets and shopping centres thanks to the prevalence of supermarket stores and the availability of onsite parking.

“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.

“Furthermore, with footfall remaining well below pre-coronavirus levels, the Government must act now to provide certainty for business and prevent a cliff-edge of 100% business rates in April 2021. Such action would cripple the retail industry at a crucial moment for its recovery.”


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