Lockdown three.zero is going to hit footfall additional (Image: Shutterstock)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions saved buyers away from post-Christmas gross sales in the final week of December, as footfall throughout the full 4 weeks after lockdown was lifted on third December fell to lower than half of the identical interval in 2019, in accordance to the newest Retail Traffic Index (RTI) from Ipsos Retail Performance.
The figures confirmed that in the non-meals shops that might stay open following the imposition of harder restrictions from Boxing Day, footfall was down by -72.three% on the yr earlier than for the week commencing 27 December.
Stores in Northern England suffered the least hardship, although the deficit on final yr was nonetheless substantial at -44.eight%.
Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, defined:“At a time when we would normally expect the stores to be full of winter sale bargain hunters, Christmas voucher spenders and gift exchangers, helping the old year finishing with a flourish, 2020 has ended instead in a quiet whimper.”
He provides: “The widescale re-opening of non-essential stores from 3 December as part of the lift from lockdown was designed to help households enjoy some semblance of a normal Christmas and New Year, but the rapid transmission of the new strain of COVID-19 during December prevented this from happening. Instead, people have largely been acceptant of making the best of a quiet festive period where, despite its official classification as a white Christmas, for many the only thing outside that was white was the home delivery van.”
The figures are largely backed up by the newest footfall numbers from Springboard, which present that footfall strengthened in December dropping by -41.9%, in contrast with -51.2% in November when England was topic to Lockdown 2. Footfall declined by -50.eight% in excessive streets, -45.6% in procuring centres and
-18.7% in retail parks.
The decline in footfall in December was in line with the common from March of -47.four%.
Footfall declined by -31.5% in the second and third weeks of the month following the finish of Lockdown2, but worsened to -50% in the remaining two weeks following additional Tier four restrictions in the penultimate buying and selling week.
Boxing Day retailer visitors – historically the most iconic and essential buying and selling day for retailers –was 60% decrease than on Boxing Day 2019.
Retail parks – with the majority internet hosting meals shops – fared the better of the three vacation spot sorts in December; in the week main up to Christmas day, footfall in retail parks was solely 19% decrease than 2019 in retail parks but 47.2% decrease in Shopping Centres and 54.6% decrease in excessive streets.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s Marketing & Insights Director, says: “Somewhat inevitably, it was retail parks – with the majority hosting food stores – that fared the best in December, a narrative that has been frequently repeated since March. Indeed, unlike most high streets and shopping centres the cancellation of the relaxation of restrictions over the five day Christmas period is likely to have provided even greater support for retail parks as far more households then needed to stock up with Christmas food and groceries. In the week leading up to Christmas day, footfall was only 19% lower than 2019 in retail parks but 47.2% lower in Shopping Centres and 54.6% lower in high streets.”
So what does the future have in retailer? With the UK now again into full lockdown till not less than mid-February, these dire footfall figures are doubtless to proceed to worsen. However, each Springboard and Ipsos stay cautiously optimistic that when issues do open up, bodily retail will bounce again.
A brand new yr brings yet one more lockdown which can be an additional blow to non-important retail but with a renewed optimism that bricks and mortar will bounce again in the summer season as customers can be keen to get out once more and spend,” says Wehrle.
Ipsos’ Denison provides: “With trading figures being announced over the next week or so, we can but hope that online sales have helped salvage the performance of most non-essential goods retailers. No doubt the headlines will be grabbed by those that end up failing, but in truth they should be about celebrating all those retailers that have not just made it through the year, but have managed to adapt at speed, adjust their business models and became re-energised.”
He concludes: “Going into another lockdown at the start of the new year won’t be easy for many to weather, but let’s be thankful for the digital technology that has saved retail and enables retailers to continue to serve their customers, until such a time as we can all enjoy physical retailing safely again.”