Gradual improvement to UK footfall
Helen Dickinson OBE | Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium
"March saw another gradual improvement to footfall levels across the UK. As the first full month without coronavirus restrictions in England and Northern Ireland, consumers were able to shop with a greater sense of normality, spurred on by some spring sunshine. While all UK shopping locations enjoyed higher footfall levels than earlier in the pandemic, shopping centres saw a significant improvement for the first time in 2022, as shoppers browsed multiple stores in preparation for the summer season.
"There are many challenges on the horizon as consumer confidence fell to its lowest levels in 16 months. Consumers are now feeling the effects of rising living costs, increased food and fuel prices, and are also anticipating higher energy prices from 1 April. The impact on retail footfall and retail sales across both stores and online is yet to be seen, but as belts continue to tighten and prices continue to rise, it will be a difficult road ahead for consumers.”
Andy Sumpter | Retail Consultant – EMEA | Sensormatic Solutions
“As we surpass two years since the first Covid-19 lockdown, we might begin to see where retail footfall trends will settle down as retail resets. With the High Street’s recovery hitting its best performance since October and UK shopper traffic tracking ahead of its European counterparts, retailers’ optimism will be met with a healthy dose of realism. While covid-19 restrictions maybe loosening, the nation’s belts may start to tighten as the impact of the cost-of-living squeeze and price inflation accelerates, and the knock-on effect of the energy cap rise and increased National Insurance contributions this month remain unknown as they look ahead into April and beyond. However, while price sensitivity may be growing among UK consumers, spending and brand loyalty seem to be ‘stickier’ in-store, with our recent research showing over a third were less price sensitive when shopping in-store compared to when they bought items online, and half felt more loyal to the bricks-and-mortar brands they shop with.”