Monday 17 May 2021 1:52 pm

Droves of shoppers return to Central London high streets

Footfall in Central London grew by 4.2 per cent last week, according to data from Springboard, suggesting shoppers have started to feel sufficiently confident to make trips to the capital.

But despite the week’s jump in footfall, London has a long way to go before it reaches pre-pandemic levels of busy.

Footfall in London is still down 61.8 per cent from its 2019 level compared with -24.1 per cent in outer London.

Across the UK, the number of shoppers out and about rose by 0.5 per cent last week, however this was wholly driven by a rise of 3.9 per cent on the UK high streets, while in retail parks footfall declined by 3.4 per cent, and footfall in shopping centres fell 2.8 per cent.

The number of shoppers rose on all types of high street, but the most modest rises were seen in coastal towns (+0.5%) historic towns (+1.6%), and in regional cities outside of London (+1.7%)

With a rise in footfall of 5.7 per cent in market towns, shoppers were still more willing to stay local.  

Springboard insight director Diane Wehrle said: “Shoppers braved the ongoing rain and ventured back into retail destinations last week with footfall rising from the week before. However, it was high streets rather than shopping centres or retail parks that drove the uplift, and the result was a largely a result of a bounce back from a drop in shopper activity that occurred over the bank holiday weekend the week before.

“Shoppers continued to demonstrate a greater desire to visit their local high streets than large city centres across the UK, although it seems that Central London is becoming more appealing with a rise in footfall last week that was the second highest of any type of high street, only lower than in market towns.”

With today’s further easing of coronavirus restrictions enabling people to meet indoors for the first time in months, footfall is likely to continue to rise, she added.