UK High Street with buskers playing music

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published its latest UK footfall statistics, covering 31 January 2021-27 February 2021, which indicates that footfall is still struggling as lockdown wears on.

According to BRC’s latest figures, with the UK still in lockdown, year on year UK footfall decreased by 73.5 percent in February, with only a 3.4 percentage point improvement from January.

Following January, this is the second largest drop in the UK footfall since May 2020 (-81.6 percent), the consortium states.

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Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “Footfall remained down by three quarters during the second full month of lockdown. Shopping centres continued to suffer the most due to their high proportion of “non-essential” retailing, whereas retail parks benefitted from the presence of large essential retailers such as supermarkets and health stores.

“While footfall improved slightly due to slowing Covid infections boosting consumer confidence, it will be a difficult time for retail until businesses are permitted to reopen in April.”

However, with the announcement of the UK’s lockdown exit plan, which outlines the easing of restrictions in England and the nation’s road to recovery, footfall should start to return to normal from 12th April. At this point, non-essential retail will be permitted to reopen.

Whilst mobility retailers are deemed ‘essential’, meaning they have not been required to close during lockdown, the reopening of other retail outlets should see an increase in footfall in high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

“Retailers welcomed the Chancellor’s extension of key business funding schemes in Wednesday’s Budget,” continued Helen. “Nonetheless, the real challenge will arise in April, as tens of thousands of “non-essential” retailers hold their breath to see if demand returns to stores.

“Despite the support offered by the Chancellor, the retail industry is not out of the woods yet. In order to support a much needed recovery in the industry and the three million jobs it supports, the Government must ensure the UK’s state aid rules allow businesses to fully access the grants and loans that have been announced.”

Mobility leaders have responded positively to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget.

Steve Baker, Chief Executive for BaKare Beds & Hideaway Beds, exclusively told THIIS: “The combination of higher corporation tax and super deduction tax should increase UK investment to create the growth we need and it appears like a clever version of trickle down economics at work. We will certainly be looking to invest in UK manufacturing and assembly in our recently opened Yorkshire premises as a result.

“I would also expect most accountants to be in touch with business owners explaining how they should spend more in order to be more tax efficient. The devil will be in the detail but looks like win-win to me.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added that many retailers will be holding hope that once retail reopens, pent-up demand and real-life retail experiences will help the high street’s recovery.

“With lockdown fatigue looming large, February saw another month of limited footfall on the High Street, as non-essential retail remained closed and stores shuttered,” he commented.

“February did see a small lift in shopper counts compared to January, perhaps due to the ongoing success of the vaccine roll-out and the roadmap for unlocking announced earlier in the month giving consumer confidence a boost.

“However, while there is light at the end of tunnel, the outlook between now and 12 April, when non-essential retail can reopen, remains bleak. Many retailers will be holding out hope that, once again, consumers will return when they reopen and that pent-up demand for real life retail experiences will sustain the High Street’s recovery.”

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https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/UK-high-street-unsustainable.jpg?fit=1000%2C667&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/UK-high-street-unsustainable.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Sarah SarsbyNewsroomRetailer NewsTrade NewsBRC,BRC footfall statistics,british retail consortium,mobility retailers,retail sector,retailers,UK footfall statisticsThe British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published its latest UK footfall statistics, covering 31 January 2021-27 February 2021, which indicates that footfall is still struggling as lockdown wears on. According to BRC’s latest figures, with the UK still in lockdown, year on year UK footfall decreased by 73.5 percent in...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals