Monday 25 January 2021 12:01 am

UK high street set for comeback after lockdown eased due to 'pent up demand', experts say

The UK high street is set to bounce back after lockdown as the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions is expected to release a wave of pent up demand for in-person shopping experiences, retail experts have said.

Data showed that footfall jumped dramatically in the first weeks after the first and second national coronavirus lockdowns, with shoppers returning to the high street in droves.

Read more: More than 700 high street jobs axed as Arcadia closes 31 stores

Research by Springboard published this morning found that footfall rose 40.3 per cent after restrictions on non-essential retailers were lifted last year as people sought out “human experience and interaction in retail”.

A similar pattern is expected following the easing of the latest lockdown restrictions

“The longer consumers are subject to restrictions the greater the desire for this will be, therefore Springboard forecast that the retail industry will bounce back and it is those who have adapted to the post-Covid era which will succeed in the long term which is continuing to evolve at speed,” the report into the impact of the pandemic said.

However 2021 is expected to present further challenges for high street retailers, as experts have predicted that the acceleration of online shopping during the pandemic will continue.

Online spending surged last year, from 19.1 per cent of total retail spending in 2019 to accounting for 27.4 per cent of sales in 2020.

Post-Covid, online spending is expected to rebase at a higher level than before the global pandemic “as a proportion of those online shoppers who were previously store only shoppers are likely to continue to use this channel for at least some purchases”.