Monday 21 December 2020 12:37 pm

Retailers feel Tier 4 pain as footfall drops 40 per cent

Retail footfall plunged by 40 per cent in the areas of England put under Tier 4 restrictions such as London, laying bare the impact of the restrictions on shop-owners during the crucial Christmas period.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced London and parts of the south and south east of England would go into a new Tier 4 from Sunday.

It means non-essential shops, as well as pubs and restaurants (except for takeaway), have had to close in an effort to halt soaring coronavirus cases.

Johnson also tightened travel advice and limited the loosening of Covid restrictions to just Christmas day. Retailers and business groups said the new rules would be disastrous during the Christmas period.

Footfall figures from data firm Springboard today gave a taste of the impact of the new lockdowns.

Tier 4 ‘hugely detrimental’ to retail

Across all retail destinations, footfall in Tier 4 was roughly 40 per cent lower on Sunday than a week earlier.

In Tier 3 – where non-essential shops can open – it was down by 17 per cent. In Tier 2 it was 14 per cent lower.

Meanwhile, in the Tier 1 areas with the lightest restrictions, Springboard said footfall rose from the previous Sunday by a “staggering” 31 per cent.

“The government’s shock announcement on Saturday afternoon with the introduction of Tier 4 has led to drastic changes in retail footfall across the UK.” said Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director.

“The closure of non-essential retail in Tier 4 during what is usually the last, and busiest, week of Christmas trading will have a hugely detrimental impact on retailers who have already had a difficult year.”

UK retailers have been hit hard on the stock market today, following the new Tier 4 rules. Frasers Group shed 10.1 per cent while JD Sports dropped 5.5 per cent. Primark owner Associated British Foods fell 5.1 per cent.