The number of people on UK’s high streets rose by 2.5 per cent last week compared to the previous week, with the Christmas buzz gradually bringing shoppers back.
Footfall in Central London rose by one per cent last week, however, with the widespread Christmas light switch-on taking place on Saturday, the benefit to footfall will be seen more clearly this week.
In regional cities outside the capital – where lights were switched on on Friday, footfall rose by 4.7 per cent compared with just 1.4 per cent in market towns.
There was a clear differentiation between the Monday to Friday period, with footfall rising an average of eight per cent on Sunday and Saturday, with the weekdays still relatively low.
Despite these early signs of Christmas trading, it is far from back to ‘normal’.
For example, the high streets had 16.5 per cent less shoppers versus pre-pandemic levels and shopping centres had 22 per cent less.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “With Christmas lights being switched on in a number of city centres at the end of last week, last week might have provided an early indicator of the anticipation of shoppers for visiting retail destinations over the Christmas trading period. “
“Whilst footfall declined marginally between Monday and Friday last week, the week was bookended with marked increases from the week before on both Sunday and Saturday, the two days when shoppers are more readily able to make leisure trips to retail destinations. In addition, it was high streets and shopping centres – where Christmas events and decorations tend to be in the greatest abundance, rather than retail parks that benefited from the greatest uplift in shopper activity.”