Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, we have seen an unprecedented decrease in footfall, which at its worst was almost 93% down on the same day compared to the previous year. On June 15th Shops and Shopping Centres could open their doors again with restrictions on the number of visitors allowed at any one time, and this can be seen in footfall numbers. We still see a significant decrease compared to last year, but looking at the past weeks, the only way is up!
The peak in visitor numbers on Monday 24th of August was comparing to the August Bank Holiday last year, which saw a noticeable drop in visitor numbers. A pattern not repeated this year when the bank holiday was much more in line with the remainder of the week. Indeed, the week of the bank holiday saw increased visitor numbers on many days, possibly boosted by back to school shopping after months of lockdown.
After the peak of new Covid-19 cases between April and May, the number of new cases has fluctuated, but maintained a downward trend before plateauing at the end of June through July and August to a lesser degree. However, from September 6th we have seen a noticeable increase in cases, culminating in the 2nd highest number of daily cases on 23rd September since the outbreak began. Just as worrying is the year on year gap in visitors that is starting to widen again. From a best of -26% in August (bank holiday excluded) this has, over the last few days, crept back above -40% to a high of -45.6% on Wednesday 23rd.
In Tuesday’s update by Boris Johnson, it was announced that pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close by 10pm from Thursday 24th of September. Gatherings of more than 6 people have also been prohibited. It is expected this will influence footfall over the next weeks.
The chart below shows the trend of footfall over the last few weeks, combined with the number of corona cases. We continue to monitor footfall numbers and share regular updates on its development.