UK retail footfall triples as restrictions ease
Visits to UK shops more than tripled in early trading on Monday as restrictions on non-essential retailers were relaxed for the first time since early January.
Total retail footfall jumped 218% by 10:00 GMT from a week earlier, figures produced by Springboard showed. The biggest rise was in shopping centres, up 340%, followed by high streets where visits rose 233%. Retail parks, where activity has held up the most during lockdown, rose 58%.
The figures underscored scenes outside popular retailers such as JD Sports and Primark, owned by Associated British foods, where shoppers formed long queues. Pub gardens, hairdressers and other businesses were also allowed to resume trading as part of the government's "road map" to reopen the economy by late June.
Springboard said total footfall was more than 500% higher than a year earlier, when the UK was in a tighter lockdown, and just 14.7% lower than in 2019. Many retailers may struggle in the months ahead as bills for loans and deferred taxes come up for payment and several names such as Jessops and Paperchase have been forced to call in administrators.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “While it is possible that we’ll see plenty of people venturing into the shops today, particularly as it provides an excuse to finally get out of the house, retailers need strong footfall to be sustained for more than just a few days otherwise they face more difficult times ahead. It seems inevitable that we haven’t seen the last of the retail sector casualties.”