Monday 4 January 2021 4:08 pm

Post-Christmas footfall plummets as UK shoppers avoid high street

Footfall across Britain’s high streets plunged almost a quarter last week as Boxing Day sales failed to lure shoppers from their sofas, according to the latest data.

The number of Brits hitting the shops fell more than 23 per cent in the seven days after Christmas compared with the week before, latest Springboard figures showed. 

UK shopping centres were hardest hit by the most recent lockdown restrictions, with footfall plunging almost 32 per cent as Brits were told to “stay home, stay local”.

Tougher restrictions announced on 30 December by health secretary Matt Hancock bit into post-Christmas trading, with footfall in Tier 4 locations 72 per cent lower than last year.

Meanwhile non-essential shops allowed to stay open in Tier 3 areas saw a 34 per cent year-on-year decline.

But London’s high streets managed to weather the storm over the festive period, despite being thrust under the toughest level of restrictions less than a week before Christmas.

Springboard data showed London was the only place where footfall rose in the week after Chrstmas, with the capital notching a 2.5 per cent increase in shoppers in the week to 2 January.

However, London retail footfall still remains more than 87 per cent lower than in the same period last year, as businesses continue to crumble under the weight of the pandemic, which has already seen the collapse of British retail giants such as Debenhams, Topshop and Jaeger. 

“The end of the festive trading period and tightened government restrictions unsurprisingly saw footfall in UK retail destinations drop significantly at the end of 2020,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard.

“Moving into a new year, with the extension of Tier 4 across virtually all of England and lockdowns in place in the devolved nations, retailers are unlikely to see any respite until restrictions are eased in the coming weeks or months.

“We know from our experience of retail reopening in June 2020 that until the widespread rollout of the vaccine, retail footfall will remain significantly below the pre-Covid level.”