Friday 10 July 2020 9:35 am

UK shoppers start to return to the high street after lockdown

Shoppers returned to the UK high street last month as lockdown restrictions were eased, however visitor numbers were well below pre-coronavirus levels, according to the latest data.

Footfall analysis by the British Retail Consortium and Shoppertrak showed that footfall in June was down 63 per cent compared to the previous year, although this was 19 percentage points above May’s reading.

Non-essential stores were given the go ahead to reopen from 15 June in England, but shopper numbers were still 53 per cent lower than normal in the second half the month.

In the first two weeks of June, when only essential stores were open, footfall was down 77 per cent.

Retail parks recorded a lower slump in footfall – 33.8 per cent – due to their wider open spaces, higher proportion of supermarkets and larger stores.

However, shopping centres were the worst affected locations, with a 68.3 per cent drop in footfall, partly due to their enclosed spaces making social distancing a challenge.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “With lockdown measures easing, consumers are slowly re-emerging onto their high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

“Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential retail stores on 15 June.

“Retail parks have performed the best because they have a broad mix of retailers, more space and on-site parking, however, high streets and shopping centres are quickly catching up. 

“UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost.”