Turmoil on the high street is set to continue through the pivotal Christmas and Black Friday trading period as footfall looks set to slump dramatically compared to last year, according to new data.
Retail intelligence firm Springboard has forecast that UK shopping destinations will see overall footfall for the six weeks to Boxing Day plunge by 62 per cent the same period last year.
This is much worse than what it anticipated before the second lockdown was announced on Saturday, when it initially had a forecast of a 32.7 per cent drop in footfall during that same period from November 22 to December 26.
Springboard said the new lockdown restrictions across England – which starts this week on November 5 and is set to end December 2 – would now see retailers miss out on the start of essential weeks of Christmas trading as non-essential retail remains closed.
Springboard warned that if the national lockdown were to be extended throughout December, footfall could drop by more than 80 per cent – the same magnitude of decline in April, the height of the first lockdown.
Retailers had hoped that Christmas would provide much needed respite to high street stores which have been battered by enforced lockdowns and other restrictions since the Covid pandemic gripped the UK in March.
Traditionally, Springboard data from 2017-2019 highlights that retailers begin to experience an uplift in footfall from Christmas shopping in the first week of November, rising on average by three per cent per week.
However, it warned that the latest lockdown measures would be “catastrophic” for the retail industry.
On the other hand, Springboard recognised that the greatest uplift in footfall was usually seen in December with an average rise of 11.4 per cent in week 51 of the year, the last week of trading before Christmas, and said it was essential all retailers could re-open by this time.
Post Boxing Day, footfall is likely to bounce back as it would be the first opportunity for many shoppers to head out to stores after spending time with their families.
Springboard said this would lead to a marginal improvement in footfall in the week beginning December 27, with a decline of 42.3 per cent compared to the 62 per cent nosed dive in the period ending Boxing Day.
“The national lockdown restrictions will now see our struggling retailers miss out on the start of essential weeks of Christmas trading, including Black Friday weekend as non-essential retail remains closed until 2 December at the very earliest,” Springboard insights director Diana Wehrle said.
“Although restrictions may ease in December, this is by no means guaranteed as the second wave of Covid-19 ripples throughout the UK.
“Most consumers are likely to have completed a vast amount of shopping online in advance and may well have fears of returning to bricks and mortar stores, however retailers need to be given the opportunity to reopen ahead of Christmas.”
Read the full article here – retailgazette.co.uk