Slow start to 2022
Helen Dickinson OBE | Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium
“It was a slow start to 2022, with only minor improvements to UK footfall despite a significant decline in Covid cases. Indeed, it was quality over quantity in January; less people visited retail parks and shopping centres, but those who did went to more stores at each location. It is likely the January sales influenced in this behaviour, encouraging consumers to shop around in their quest to find the best deals. Footfall failed to improve consistently across the UK, with London yet to benefit from the end of Plan B measures announced in mid-January.
“As we emerge out of the Omicron wave and the return to the office gains momentum, we are hopeful footfall will continue to improve. Yet, even as restrictions are eased, retail footfall will not return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon. This poses a challenge to many town and city centre retailers who continue be impacted to from lower commuter numbers. However, opportunities remain; innovative retailers are reacting to new consumer behaviours by investing in physical and digital offerings in order to draw in new customers. The return of other sectors, from hospitality to tourism, may create additional competition for customer spending, but it also brings new life and custom to many vital shopping destinations.”
Andy Sumpter | Retail Consultant – EMEA | Sensormatic Solutions
“While total retail shopper traffic improved marginally on December’s figures, footfall’s recovery remains plateaued. January became the fourth successive month in which shopper counts struggled to reach the highest recovery levels seen back in October. With the Government dropping Covid Plan B curbs and work from home guidance, retailers will be hoping consumer confidence will also return along with the commuter trade to boost footfall and put a spring back in to step of the High Street’s recovery.”