The implementation of new coronavirus restrictions in the UK had an immediate and noticeable impact on retail footfall. From October 11 to October 17, there was a significant decline of 3.1% compared to the previous week. This decrease was even more pronounced when compared to the same period last year, with footfall down by 32.3%.

Once again, it was the larger cities that bore the brunt of the decline, experiencing a 5.7% drop in footfall on a week-on-week basis. In contrast, smaller towns saw much smaller declines. Central London, for example, only experienced a 2.3% decline, which is less than half the rate seen in regional cities. However, it’s important to note that this lower decline can be attributed to the fact that footfall in the capital had already significantly decreased prior to the new restrictions taking effect.

The North & Yorkshire region saw the highest decline in footfall, with a decrease of 5% compared to the previous week. This can be attributed to the stricter restrictions imposed in this particular area.

The data, provided by Springboard, shows that the decline in footfall was fairly evenly distributed across different types of retail destinations. High streets saw a decrease of 2.8%, retail parks experienced a decline of 3%, and shopping centers saw a drop of 3.5%.

As a result, footfall on high streets has plummeted by 40% compared to last year, while shopping centers have seen a decline of 34.6%. However, retail parks have fared slightly better, with only a modest decline of 13.2% from the previous year.

These figures underscore the ongoing challenges faced by the UK retail industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions. With the festive season approaching, retailers will need to navigate these difficult circumstances to ensure their survival and success. It is crucial for retailers to adapt quickly and explore innovative strategies in order to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic and restrictions on their businesses.

Useful links:
1. Retail Gazette: Retail footfall plunges due to new Covid restrictions
2. BBC News: Footfall in shops and cafes ‘back to pre-pandemic levels’