March footfall down by more than a fifth, but showed recovery

Non-food retail footfall fell by more than a fifth in March, but showed signs of recovery.

Footfall fell by 22.9% in March (27 February-27 March) compared with 2019, according Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index.

However, this was a 9.9% improvement on February.

‘Despite footfall still being down by 22.9% compared to 2019, the unseasonably warm weather had a positive impact on footfall across the UK, with footfall up 9.9% compared to the previous month. The best performing region was Northern England where store visits were down by 18.6%,’ says Oliver Hillier, Ipsos Retail Performance senior retail analyst.

‘However, concerns that the Chancellor’s Spring Statement didn’t go far enough to protect consumers against the rising cost of living will likely impact footfall levels throughout the Spring, as many households look to cut back on non-essential items to cover increasing utility costs and the recent rise in council tax.

‘Ipsos data continues to show that towns outperformed cities by 8.3% points in March. Local high streets also remain popular, with footfall levels increasing 15.7% compared to the previous month, as shoppers look to support their local economy – a trend that has been gathering pace since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020.’

Retail parks proved to be the most resistant, with footfall down 14/9%, but 5% better than February. High streets saw the largest recovery, with footfall 15.7% better, while still down 23.1%. Shopping centres also saw an improvement, of 11.3% to 23.6%.



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