Monday 12 April 2021 2:10 pm

Number of shoppers in central London booms as Covid restrictions are eased

Footfall rocketed this morning as England eased coronavirus restrictions and non-essential retail was allowed to open for business for the first time in months.

In the first few hours of trading this morning footfall in shopping centres jumped nearly 340 per cent when compared with last week, according to the latest data from Springboard.

Read more: City of London starts to reopen as Government eases lockdown restrictions

Footfall on high streets was up 233 per cent, as Brits flocked to shops and hairdressers as lockdown measures eased, while retail parks saw a 58 per cent week-on-week increase.

In central London the number of shoppers on the street was up 230 per cent compared with the same time last week.

Footfall across all UK destination is was up 218 per cent this morning when compared with the same time last week, and a whopping 505 per cent from 2020.

By midday the numbers of shoppers on the street had calmed down, but will still up a sizeable 130 per cent on the high street and 148 per cent at shopping centres.

The number of people at retail parks by midday had fallen 12 per cent, taking the total number of shoppers down week-on-week.

For central London, Jace Tyrrell, boss of New West End Company which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and in Mayfair said: 
  
“Footfall this morning was slightly above our predictions, and was an encouraging start to reopening. We saw around 44 per cent of the usual number of April visitors, with domestic shoppers out in force, but until international shoppers return the West End businesses will continue to need extra government support.”

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An early morning queue forms outside Primark on April 12, 2021 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Read more: Birmingham Bullring owner Hammerson confirms talks over £350m sale of UK retail parks

From today pub gardens, indoor gyms, hairdressers and non-essential retail are among businesses that can reopen in England, most for the first time in 2021.

Robin Osterly, chief executive at the Charity Retail Association, said: “We are anticipating very strong trading when charity shops reopen, driven by high levels of stock as people donate large volumes of pre-loved belongings stored up during lockdown.”

Jamie Mackenzie, director at employee benefits platform Sodexo Engage, added: “Today is a big day for many small businesses and there is a sense of optimism in the air as normality feels more within reach.

“But there’s no doubt the challenges of this year will leave a mark. The act of reopening is no easy feat, with companies having to digest and comply with new regulations while also making sure their teams feel safe, supported and ready to face the public once more.

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