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Shopping centres struggle to atract consumers in latest week

Footfall across UK retail destinations dipped 4.2% week-on-week in the seven-day 5-11 September period, with shopping centres and retail parks bearing the brunt of the decline, latest Springboard figures show.

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Photo: Nigel Taylor

It cited the start of the new school term and the return to work of those who had been on holiday (coastal town footfall fell away by over 10% on the previous week) as contributing to the dip.

But parts of Central London at least gave a dreary week some lift with specific data showing footfall in retail areas surrounding increasingly repopulating office locations actually rose.

But the overall picture was of declines with shopping centres and retail parks down 7.7% and 4.7% respectively, while high streets dipped just 2.2%.

The drop in footfall across all those retail destinations meant that the gap from the 2019 footfall level widened last week to -17.3% from -15.8% in the week before. By contrast, an uplift in footfall in market towns (+2.6%) and in Outer London (+3%) meant that footfall in both of these two town types last week was only 15% below the 2019 level, compared with -34.7% in Central London and -21% in regional cities outside of the capital.

Diane Wehrle, Insights director at Springboard commented: “Working at home is clearly supporting high streets generally, with a decline in high street footfall across the UK last week from the week before that was less than a third of that in shopping centres and half that in retail parks. 

“Although it is evident that the vast majority of employees are continuing to work from home, it seems that the drift back to offices might have commenced”.

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