Due to lockdown rules, UK footfall decreased by 84.7% in April, a record decline for the industry that has seen unprecedented challenges during the month.
Footfall on high streets declined by 81.8% year on year but fared better in comparison to shopping centres, as local convenience stores saw a rise in popularity.
Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 62.4% year on year, thanks to wider open spaces in comparison to other locations and a higher proportion of supermarkets helped to shelter retail parks from a steeper decline.
Shopping centre footfall declined by 87.8% year on year and were the most negatively affected location, partly due to enclosed spaces making social distancing more of a challenge.
Commenting on the figures, Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive said: “As expected, lockdown has dramatically cut footfall traffic across retail locations, with the majority of physical stores closed to the public.
“The fall has been slightly less dramatic in retail parks where a high proportion of supermarkets and other essential stores have remained open, slightly mitigating the overall reduction in footfall.”
She added: “With lower footfall likely to continue, along with a corresponding fall in sales, and with demand likely to remain low, many retailers will not return to normal trading for some time, even when they are allowed to reopen. We will see an acceleration of many trends seen prior to the coronavirus pandemic – lower footfall as many consumers choose to browse digitally, and a corresponding rise in online sales.
“These changes are requiring retailers to adapt quickly so that the industry can meet the needs of modern consumers and deal with the challenges the pandemic is presenting. Ultimately, the very nature of many retail jobs will change, with impressive customer service and the effective use of technology becomes even more vital.”