Monday 7 December 2020 12:00 pm

Londoners rush back to the shops as lockdown ends

Londoners rushed back to the capital’s shopping destinations this weekend as people across the country welcomed the end of lockdown with some much needed retail therapy.

Data from market research firm Springboard showed that across all UK retail destinations footfall increased 93.5 per cent on Saturday.

There was an especially large surge in shoppers in London, the data shows, with an 131.2 per cent increase in footfall in the centre of the capital on Saturday.

In the West End shopping district, the rise was even more pronounced, jumping 141 per cent overall.

But despite this, the total number of shoppers was still down a hefty 40 per cent when compared to the same day last year.

Around the country, the biggest jumps were seen at shopping centres and on high streets, which saw 136.3 per cent and 103.3 per cent increases respectively.

However, for the year as a whole, the number of shoppers was still down 27.3 per cent overall.

In addition to the end of lockdown, Springboard said that the imminent holiday period had also led to the jump in footfall.

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Insights director Diane Wehrle said that Christmas also helped explain why shopping centres had seen such a boost.

“This is not an unexpected outcome, as shoppers tend to gravitate towards shopping centres in the run up to Christmas as they host the greatest number of stores in a single location, which also tend to be larger stores with a wider choice of products to choose from”, she said.

Wehrle added that the introduction by some stores of extended shopping hours had also shown some benefit.

“Whilst the hours post 6pm only generally account for around 30 per cent of footfall across a 24 hour period, there was a marginally greater rise in footfall post 6pm than during day time trading hours of 9am to 6pm.

“Despite the rises in footfall over the week, recovery from the decline that has occurred since the start of the first lockdown is still a way off, with the volume of customers in bricks and mortar destinations remaining far below the level recorded in 2019”, she finished.

Despite the weekend bump, for the week as a whole, footfall across UK was still down 41 per cent on a year to year basis.