Retail footfall plunges nationwide, central London hit hardest
The decline in retail footfall as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic so far is three times larger than the previous worst record, according to fresh analysis from Springboard on Monday.
The data, which made for grim reading among already-struggling retailers, showed footfall in the week of 15 March was down 21.7% over the prior week, and 28% lower over the year.
Britain’s high streets suffered the most, with footfall down 31% week-on-week and 41% year-on-year, as more national chains ordered the shutters down.
Retail parks, on the other hand, were let off relatively mildly, with footfall down 2.9% on a week-on-week and year-on-year basis, given many of them contain large grocery retailers which have seen a boost in customer numbers amid national panic buying of essentials.
The numbers worsened as the week wore on as well, with the week-on-week drop standing at 18.2% on 15 March but rising to 28% by 21 March, while the year-on-year figures grew from 22.9% on 15 March to 48% on 21 March.
No part of the UK was spared, either, with all geographies recording a decline in footfall of at least 20%, with London being the hardest hit as footfall there fell 31.1% year-on-year for the week.
Central London, in particular, saw footfall plunge 63.3% as more of the capital’s workforce remained home, which also led to the decline in outer London boroughs - where many of inner London’s normal daytime population live - falling by a comparatively mild 21.9%.
“The decline in footfall week on week was on par with the drop normally only ever seen in the week post-Christmas,” said Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle.
“The annual change represented an unprecedented decline in retail footfall that was three times greater than the worst result we have ever previously recorded.”