Shoppers surge by 20 per cent on Britain's High Streets

Shoppers surge by 20 per cent on Britain’s High Streets with shopping centres seeing 26 per cent jump as they rush to finish Christmas shopping before Tier 3 lockdowns spread

  • Footfall surged on Britain’s High Streets by 20% after Christmas shopping dash
  • Millions headed out amid concerns over no deal Brexit and Tier 3 lockdowns  
  • Retail firm Springboard also found shopping centres saw the biggest boost

Shoppers descending on Britain’s High Streets for their Christmas shopping boosted footfall by 20%, research has found.

Millions have headed out to high streets and shopping centres to snap up gifts before Christmas.

The surge saw footfall increase across all retail destinations last week – up 19.5% compared with a week earlier, according to the research by Springboard. 

Shopping centres saw the biggest boost from the weekend’s festive frenzy shopping spree with footfall figures up 26.3%, the retail monitoring firm found.

Retail parks also widely attracted shoppers, with footfall at those destinations now just 8.6% lower than last year.

The experts suggested this was primarily helped by large supermarkets, which have remained open throughout the various national lockdowns.

Shopper numbers at the weekend were also swollen by concerns about stock shortages linked to a possible No Deal Brexit and the suggestion that some areas could be moved into Tier 3 on Wednesday. 

It was confirmed today that millions of Londoners are to be plunged into a Tier 3 shutdown just days before Christmas.

Millions have headed out to high streets and shopping centres to snap up gifts before Christmas. The surge saw footfall increase across all retail destinations last week – up 19.5% compared with a week earlier, according to new research. Pictured: Shoppers in Kingston Upon Thames today

The rise in shoppers caused chaos on the roads in Kingston Upon Thames today (pictured) as people were seen queueing for car parks in a last minute dash to the shops

Experts said the decision, which will see pubs, restaurants and culture venues close, was made as coronavirus cases in the capital are soaring ‘off the chart’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that the tough new rules will come into effect just after midnight on Wednesday morning – less than 48 hours time.

The move, opposed by many MPs and firms, could devastate businesses just days before Christmas and wipe out the benefits seen by the weekend’s increased footfall. 

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: ‘In the second week following the reopening of non-essential retail stores footfall across UK retail destinations continued to rise.

Shopping centres saw the biggest boost from the weekend’s festive frenzy shopping spree with footfall figures up 26.3%, retail monitoring firm Springboard found. Pictured: Shoppers in Kingston Upon Thames today

Retail parks also widely attracted shoppers, with footfall at those destinations now just 8.6% lower than last year. The experts suggested this was primarily helped by large supermarkets, which have remained open throughout the various national lockdowns. Pictured: Shopper at Sainsbury’s in Northfleet, Kent, today

‘The uplift was smaller than in the first week, but it was still significantly greater than in the second week following the reopening of retail in June, indicating the desire of shoppers to visit brick and mortar stores in the run-up to Christmas.’

Crowds of shoppers were seen on Oxford Street in London’s shopping heartland at the weekend and on adjacent Regent Street, now pedestrianised to aid social distancing. 

In Newcastle, thousands braved the rain to support city centre markets and shops as security guards enforced social distancing.

At the lunchtime peak on Saturday, approximately 5,000 people an hour were walking along one main shopping street.

There were similar scenes in Manchester, another Tier Three area, where the centre was described as ‘close to its bustling normal’.  

The estimated £4.5billion spent at the weekend was expected to match 2019 figures, said a study by the Centre for Retail Research.  

Data trends show this was made up of £2.5billion in shops, £1.5billion online, £150million in pubs and £400million in restaurants, retail and hospitality. 

Spending figures were high as footfall rose in all periods across the entire day, according to Springboard. 

The footfall figures were a much needed boost to retail which was dealt another blow as it emerged London would be moved into Tier 3 on Wednesday

Springboard said that, over the past two weeks, footfall was 29.9% lower than in 2019 across all destinations, and in high street and shopping centres it was off by 38.1% and 33.2% respectively

However, overall numbers remain down on a year ago due to the pandemic and the impact of social distancing measures. Pictured: Sainsbury’s shopper in Kent today

Although during daytime trading hours the increase was nearly a quarter greater than post-6pm – up 20.4% between 9am and 6pm compared with 16.9% from 6pm to midnight.

Smaller market towns also enjoyed a 20.9% boost in footfall, although this was lower than regional cities, up 29.7% between Sunday December 6 and Saturday December 12.

In retail parks footfall was up 9%; however, in shopping parks – those dominated by high street retailers – footfall rose by 15.5%, Springboard added.

The same week a year ago, footfall fell across many key shopping destinations because it followed Black Friday, when many retailers held big sale events, leading to a cooling off period.

But due to stores being closed for so long during England’s second national lockdown, shoppers remain determined to head to brick and mortar stores in the run-up to Christmas.

However, overall numbers remain down on a year ago due to the pandemic and the impact of social distancing measures.

Springboard said that, over the past two weeks, footfall was 29.9% lower than in 2019 across all destinations, and in high street and shopping centres it was off by 38.1% and 33.2% respectively. 

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