Friday 20 November 2020 12:01 am

Black Friday: Click and collect to boost retail park footfall as high streets suffer

Retail footfall on Black Friday is forecast to plummet due to the closure of non-essential stores, but online stores, retail parks and shopping centres will benefit from click and collect services, according to the latest research.

England is set to be the hardest hit, with footfall expected to plunge 61.7 per cent on Black Friday and 60.6 per cent over the weekend compared to last year, due to the nation-wide lockdown.

Read more: Majority of Brits sceptical of Black Friday offers, survey shows

Experts said this year’s discount bonanza will be “like no other” due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but will demonstrate how well the UK’s retail sector has adapted to the lockdown environment with online and click and collect options.

High streets are expected to be the worst affected by the drop off in shopper numbers, with a 67.3 per cent drop in footfall expected across the weekend, and 68.3 per cent on Black Friday itself.

However city centres, which have been dramatically impacted by the fall in office workers and tourists during the pandemic so far, could benefit due to a higher concentration of department stores and larger retailers are able to facilitate click and collect services more easily.

Shopping centres are likely to fare better than high streets, with footfall set to fall 65.7 per cent according to analysis by Springboard.

Retail parks will be the strongest performer on Black Friday – continuing the trend reported throughout the Covid-19 crisis so far- with footfall forecast to drop 31.9 per cent on Black Friday due to the presence of essential food stores and electrical retailers.

75 per cent of retail parks have large supermarkets, where shoppers will be able to snap up discounts on non-food items such as toys, games and clothing.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle: “It goes without saying that Black Friday this year will be like no other.  In previous years – and it must be remembered that Black Friday has really only been a fixture in the annual retail calendar since 2013 – shifts in footfall on Black Friday have ranged between a 9.8 per cent jump in 2014 and a decline of 5.4 per cent in 2018 from Black Friday in the year before.”

Read more: DEBATE: Will Black Friday save the retail industry?

She added: “Needless to say due to the lockdown in England, all products bar those available in essential stores will need to be purchased online, so online spend will undoubtedly increase substantially. 

“Some of this online spend will of course have been driven by the lockdown, however, it reflects the even greater significance of online spend that is likely over Black Friday. 

“For bricks and mortar stores, particularly in England, the opportunity over Black Friday will largely be limited to their ability to provide click and collect facilities, which is the only option for shoppers to purchase goods at non-essential stores.”