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Shoppers flocked in-store over the Bank Holiday weekend, new data suggests

More shoppers visited stores over the Saturday and Sunday of the warm and sunny August Bank Holiday weekend than did the previous weekend, the latest footfall figures suggest. Springboard figures also suggest that shoppers stayed at home or travelled on Monday.

But although footfall was higher over the weekend than a week earlier it remains generally lower than the same dates in pre-pandemic 2019, the Springboard figures suggest. Ipsos figures, however, focus on non-food retail and suggest that Bank Holiday visits to those stores were higher than in 2019.

Across Saturday and Sunday, the figures suggest, footfall across all UK retail destinations was 5.3% higher than the previous week, with high streets (+8.7%) leading the improvement, followed by shopping centres (4.4%). Retail parks, however, saw footfall slightly behind last week (-0.8%). Footfall was also 7.1% ahead of the same period in 2021. Visitor numbers across retail locations remained 10.6% lower than in 2019, although this represents a narrowing of the gap, says Springboard. Footfall at shopping centres (-19.3%), retail parks (-13%) and high streets (-5.2%) was lower than in 2019.

Diane Wehrle, director of insights at Springboard, says: “The increased activity over the weekend meant that there was a clear uplift in activity from last year. Over both Saturday and Sunday footfall was +7.1% higher than on the same days last year across all retail destinations and +10.2% higher in high streets. The gap from 2019 over Saturday and Sunday also narrowed to -10.6% across all retail destinations, and just -5.2% in high streets.”

Compared to the same time last year, footfall was higher (+7.1%) across all retail locations, at shopping centres (+7.6%) and high streets (+10.2%), but very slightly lower at retail parks (-0.04%). 

Wehrle adds: “Across the different types of high streets, the clear winners were those towns that are attractive to visitors, with a strong uplift on Saturday and Sunday in coastal and historic towns, and also in market towns and in regional cities outside of London across the UK. On Sunday footfall in coastal towns was +24.3% higher than the previous week and +17.7% higher in historic towns.  Shoppers also visited city centres across the UK over the weekend, with an average rise in footfall of +10.4% over Saturday and Sunday, versus just +3.1% in Central London.”

Non-food footfall

Meanwhile, Ipsos footfall figures focused on the non-food retail sector and found that Bank Holiday footfall to those stores was 4.3% higher than in 2019, with towns (+7.5%) 5.1 percentage points ahead of cities (+2.4%).

Visits to non-food shopping locations on high streets (+3.6%), shopping centres (+6%) and retail parks (+8.1%) were all higher than in 2019, according to Ipsos. Compared to last week, it found, footfall was 1.8% higher across the UK, with a rise in both cities (+0.5%) and towns (+1.5%). Footfall to non-food locations on high streets (0.3%), retail parks (+5.5%) and shopping centres (+0.6%) were also higher than last week – although the growth is less marked than with the 2019 comparison. 

However, across the full week of August 22 to August 28, Ipsos found that non-food footfall was 12.3% lower than in 2019, and 1% lower than the previous week. High street visits were 9.1% lower than 2019 and 0.8% lower than last week, retail park visitors were 12.8% down on 2019 and 1.2% down on last week, and shopping centre visits were 14.8% down on 2019, but 1.1% up on the previous week. 

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