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August a ‘turning point for footfall’ as experts cautiously predict a good Q4

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Footfall in August suggests the month was a turning point for bricks and mortar retail; not only was there was a strong recovery in overall footfall from July of around a quarter (from -24.2% in July to -18.6% in August), but the gap from the 2019 footfall level was less than -20% for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

According to the latest monthly figures from Springboard, staycations and daycations drove a distinct return to the high street, however it hasn’t been quite enough to offset the lack of office workers. September will be a key month to see whether the slow rise in footfall continues.

In large cities outside of the capital, the improvement in footfall in August was nearly double that in smaller high streets, putting them at a comparable level versus 2019 for the first time.

August’s footfall reflects the findings of the Springboard UK Retail Consumer Report for August which identified that 89% of consumers feel some degree of comfort in visiting retail destinations and 50% are completely comfortable in making trips. 47% of UK consumers visit bricks and mortar destinations at least once a week, far more than in the US where only 28% of consumers do so.

On the basis that nothing untoward occurs and restrictions are not put back in place, it appears to be a reasonable expectation that by the end of the year footfall will be just 10% to 15% below the pre-pandemic level.

Diane Wehrle, Marketing & Insights Director, says: “This boost puts bricks and mortar retail in a good place at what is the start of Q4, leading up to the peak trading period of the year – Christmas. On the basis that nothing untoward occurs and restrictions are not put back in place, it appears to be a reasonable expectation that by the end of the year footfall will be just 10% to 15% below the pre-pandemic level.”

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