Total UK retail footfall began to recover in April as shops reopened, the latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows.
Using a two-year comparison as a result of the year-long pandemic, the BRC said total UK footfall fell by 40% in April, above the three-month average decline of 59.2%. Additionally, there was 28.7 percentage point improvement on the previous month’s figures.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “With the easing of restrictions on retail and some hospitality on 12 April, consumers have been returning to their local high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. This is reflected in the improving levels of footfall seen across the country, as consumers visit their favourite stores post-lockdown.
“While shops have worked incredibly hard to provide consumers with a safe and enjoyable shopping experience, it is unlikely we will see a return to pre-pandemic levels of footfall anytime soon, as social distancing measures naturally restrict retailers’ capacity. Retail parks continued to fare better than shopping centres and high streets, as they benefit from the presence of large stores, more space and on-site parking. However, it was encouraging to see footfall improve across all retail sites compared to the lockdown months.
“Growing consumer demand and footfall in the months ahead will be vital for the survival of many retailers, as they start to see costs increasing as stores reopen and colleagues return from furlough. With full business rates relief ending in England in June, the ongoing rates review needs to deliver on its objectives to reform the broken rates system and reduce the financial pressures on retailers, otherwise many stores and viable jobs will be under threat.”