Stores Reopen to Breathe Some Life Back into High Streets
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:
“With lockdown measures easing, consumers are slowly re-emerging onto their high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential retail stores on 15 June. Retail parks have performed the best because they have a broad mix of retailers, more space and on-site parking, however, high streets and shopping centres are quickly catching up. UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost.”
“The Chancellor’s economic update earlier this week provided critical interventions to protect jobs and incomes for households across the UK. We hope that some of the generous measures taken to support the hospitality industry will benefit footfall for retailers who are in close proximity to restaurants, bars and cafés. However, unless footfall returns to UK streets, Government must be prepared to step in and take further action to boost demand, such as widening the VAT cut to include retail goods.”
Andy Sumpter | Retail Consultant – EMEA, ShopperTrak:
“It really was a month of two halves with footfall down 80% at the start of June before rising significantly post re-opening, though still far down on last year. It’s too early to say if the re-opening of pubs and restaurants will help significantly boost retail footfall, but the UK was the last amongst its European peers to re-open doors and is also seeing the slowest rate of recovery.
“In a time of purposeful shopping, footfall has a totally new value, but perhaps the biggest challenge currently is dealing with every customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. The most effective retailers are using footfall data to allow customers to know the best time to visit to avoid queues. As customers begin to get used to new shopping practices, retailers will be working hard to ensure they have the right number of staff available at the right times.”