High Street footfall shows cautious signs of recovery as hospitality ‘halo’ begins to take effect

Retail footfall saw a welcome boost across retail parks, shopping centres and High Streets during the first weekend of indoor hospitality reopening, the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions reveals.

Based on its footfall index, which captures 40 billion shopper visits each year, Sensormatic’s data showed that UK shopper traffic saw a lift over the weekend across retail parks (+5.3%), shopping centres (+4.9%) and High Streets (+2.7%) compared to the weekend prior.  

Saturday’s figures showed the biggest jump, with shopping centre footfall up +5.9% week-on-week and High Street shopper traffic rising to +3.8% on the week before.  Retail Parks also saw a +8.6% spike in footfall on Saturday.

The rise in shopper counts, Sensormatic suggests, have been buoyed by the ‘halo effect’ from the first weekend of hospitality and leisure venues being allowed to fully reopen, with consumers choosing to combine socials gatherings with shopping.  According to VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research, Brits spent an estimated £1.2billion on going out this weekend, as 46.6million consumers took advantage of their new found freedoms and descended on indoor hospitality venues, including pubs and restaurants*, which also provided a welcome boost for the High Street. 

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s Retail Consultant for EMEA, commented: “With the return of indoor dining, we saw some signs of a cautious recovery for retail as the ‘hospitality halo’ begins to take effect and socialising is back on the menu.  Hospitality and the High Street have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, so retailers will be hoping the welcomed boost to footfall continues and that demand is sustained.”

“However, while signs of footfall’s recovery are encouraging, it’s important to remember shopper counts remain almost a third (-27.3%) down on pre-pandemic levels, so it will be very much a marathon, rather than a sprint, in sustaining this recovery,” he added.

Demand for in-store shopping experiences continued to remain strong, despite the cautious rise in High Street footfall witnessed over the weekend.  Original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic in its latest report – ‘UK Retail Beyond A Year Of Lockdowns’ - revealed that 71% of UK shoppers will make a conscious effort to support bricks-and-mortar now non-essential stores have reopened, while a further 67% said they had become much more grateful for human interaction when shopping in-store since the start of the pandemic.

* Centre for Retail Research, 2021.

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