Central London footfall is anticipated to shrink to 50 per cent below 2019 levels following the government’s move to plan B Covid restrictions this winter.
Areas like the West End are currently 20 per cent less busy than pre-pandemic levels, with retail experts at Springboard predicting the gap to widen further.
Office workers were told to stay home by the Prime Minister last night amid concerns about new Covid variant Omicron.
It comes as businesses have warned they will struggle to stay afloat without any trade and called for a fresh tranche of government support.
Shoppers will be more inclined to buy Christmas gifts on their local high streets, instead of making trips into the capital to visit shopping destinations, Springboard said.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard said: “This clearly represents yet another hammer blow to an industry that is still trying to recover from a huge loss of trade in 2020. While many retailers benefited from a huge uplift in their online sales last year, for the vast majority this was simply not enough to make up for the loss of store sales.”
Businesses in the City told CityA.M. yesterday that they were concerned about paying rent and supporting their families should trade dry up further.
Hybrid working has seen office workers opt to work from home for at least a few days a week, with the City generally quieter on Mondays and Fridays. Now, businesses fear they will be forced to shut but unable to access government financial aid this time.