Retail footfall in 'slow but steady' recovery
UK retail footfall reported strong growth during 2022, industry research showed on Wednesday, although it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
According to retail consultancy Springboard, footfall fell 14.2% in 2022 compared to 2019. Within that, high streets saw a 16.9% decline and shopping centres a 18.8% slide. Footfall eased 3.7% in retail parks.
Compared to 2021, overall footfall sparked 42%, with a 51.2% jump on high streets, a 52% increase in shopping centres and a 11.7% improvement in retail parks. However, while 2022 was the first restriction-free year since the start of the pandemic, in 2021 the UK was in lockdown for the first four months of the year with all bar essential retail closed.
Online spending habits also shifted in 2022, Springboard noted. In February 2021, 65% of clothes and footwear spending was carried out online, compared to 20.5% in January 2020. But by the end of 2022, just 24.9% of clothes and footwear spending happened online.
Springboard said footfall throughout 2022 had been in line with its forecasts, and marked a "slow but steady" post-pandemic recovery for retail destinations.
Looking to the current year, Diane Wehrle, insights director, said the cost of living crisis, including inflation, was set to continue throughout 2023 and beyond.
"Inevitably, this will act as a constraint to the number of trips make to retail destinations, as household budgets come under increasing strain," she noted.
"Alongside this, however, is the positive trend for the desire of shoppers to return to shopping in store, evident in the reduction in the significance of online spending and the steady recovery in footfall towards the 2019 level."