It’s belated and well overdue, but things are returning to normal. In Britain, we’ve had half a summer where restrictions have been lifted, music events and festivals have gone ahead, and holidays abroad have been possible with the vaccination rollout being a success. Finally, our economy and high street are seeing improvements in the footfall, to edge closer to pre-pandemic levels.
The number of shoppers visiting the country’s high streets and shopping centres improved over August, with visits to these shopping destinations 18.6% lower than in August 2019. Brick and mortar stores that are still struggling to recover post-lockdown, continue to keep customers away and have consequently driven more online sales.
The data from Springboard, a retail intelligence and shopper analytics company, displayed that it was the first time, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, that the gap has been less than 20%. The footfall in August was also 20% ahead of what was observed in Summer 2020.
Due to the lack of foreign tourists and a reduced number of commuters, footfall in Central London was 38% below the 2019 level, which Springboard highlighted was exceptionally better than the -50.4% noted in July. In other larger cities outside London, improvement in footfall in August was nearly twice the amount in smaller high streets, putting them at a comparable level with the 2019 figures, for the first time.
Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, has said, “It’s clear Brits have chosen to stay at home for the summer which has given a boost to high streets and especially coastal areas and historic towns”. She also pointed out that separate data shows 89% of shoppers now feel “some degree of comfort” visiting retail destinations.
This all puts brick and mortar retailers in a good place at the start of the fourth quarter, leading up to the Christmas period; the peak trading period of the year.
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