UK total footfall down 65% in November

Year-on-year UK footfall decreased 65.4 per cent in November, with a 31.9 per cent decline from October, according to the latest British Retail Consortium-ShopperTrak data.

Footfall on the High Street declined by 63.9 per cent year-on-year as the impact of shop closures during the second coronavirus lockdown took hold.

The High Street was the worst performing location in November and the worst performing location for the fourth consecutive month.

Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 26.8 per cent annually, below both the three-month average decline of 14 per cent and the 12-month average decline of 21.6 per cent.

Shopping centre footfall dived 61.8 per cent annually. This was just over a 24 per cent decline compared to October, and was below the 12-month average decline of 42.4 per cent.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Footfall plummeted once again as England underwent its second national lockdown in November. With the majority of stores closed, many missed out on the usual Black Friday boost to store visits as customers hunted for bargains online instead.”

She said: “Retail parks were hit less hard thanks to a higher proportion of supermarkets and other essential stores in those locations, slightly mitigating the overall drop in footfall. Now that all of retail is open again, customers can get out and do their Christmas shopping confident that stores are COVID-secure and retailers are doing everything to keep them safe.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for EMEA at ShopperTrak, said: “Not even Black Friday could loosen the grim grip of lockdown, which wiped out footfall on the High Street in November. Forced to close just at the time they needed to capitalise on Christmas trade, the real test now comes as those retailers can reopen.

“Re-instilling consumer confidence in the safety of stores is key to ensuring shoppers return, as well as using extended opening hours - with some retailers trading 24/7 in December - to reduce the pressure on the store network and improve customer experience.”

Northern Ireland saw the shallowest shopping centre footfall decline of all regions for the sixth consecutive month, with -21 per cent, followed by Scotland at -38.9 per cent. Wales saw a decline of -45 per cent.

In England, non-essential shops and other businesses were permitted to re-open on the 2 December for the first time in four weeks. On this day, footfall increased by 150 per cent compared with the previous week (25 November), and decreased -26 per cent on the previous year.

The cities with the biggest total annual drop in football up to November were Portsmouth (87 per cent), Manchester (83 per cent) and Leeds (76 per cent).

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