Footfall washout on the High Street

Retail footfall fell flat on the first day of indoor hospitality reopening on Monday 17 May, the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions reveals.

Based on its footfall index, which captures 40 billion shopper visits each year, Sensormatic’s data showed that UK shopper traffic fell -6 per cent week-on-week on Monday, with poor weather blamed for keeping shoppers away. Even though the High Street fared slightly better, only dipping -3.3 per cent on Monday compared to the week before, total UK footfall was still down -27 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Across England, where indoor hospitality and leisure venues, like cinemas and theatres, could reopen for the first time in months, footfall saw a -4.7 per cent decline in shopper counts week-on-week. Meanwhile, shopper traffic in Scotland struggled the most out of the four nations, down -9.6 per cent compared to the Monday before.

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s retail consultant for EMEA, commented: “With poor weather keeping consumers away, retailers’ hopes for a hospitality ‘halo effect’ for the High Street may have been dampened, with disappointing figures on Monday 17 May. But, the estimated £2.5billion that’s forecast to be spent in pubs, restaurants and cafes this week**, shows it’s still all to play for and Monday’s washout can still be turned around as consumers venture out to socialise.”

According to VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research, 104million people will head out to pubs, restaurants and cafes this week, while original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic in its latest report – ‘UK Retail Beyond A Year Of Lockdowns’ – revealed that 71 per cent of UK shoppers will make a conscious effort to support bricks-and-mortar now non-essential stores have reopened.

“Hospitality and the High Street have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, each helping to drive ambient footfall to one another,” Sumpter continued. “So, with hospitality now fully reopened, the vaccination roll-out continuing at pace – and hugging even now back on the menu – both industries will be hoping consumers embrace their new-found freedoms, to kick-start recovery.”

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