Driver shortage stalls footfall recovery

Shoppers

UK footfall decreased by 16.8% in September compared to pre-pandemic figures, but increased 1.2 percentage point on August’s figures, new research reveals.

The BRC-Sensormatic IQ data shows Scotland saw the deepest footfall decline of all the regions at -19.9%. Wales saw the shallowest footfall decline of all regions for the second consecutive month at -16.2%, followed by Northern Ireland and England at -16.7%.

Footfall on High Streets declined by 22.6% in September compared to pre-pandemic figures, but was 2.2 percentage points above last month’s rate, and above the three-month average decline of 26.9%.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 35.6% compared to pre-pandemic figures, 2.7 percentage points below last month’s rate, and below the three-month average decline of 35.1%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “While footfall at the start of September was strong, it slowed over the course of the month as increasing rainfall and ongoing fuel and supply issues convinced some consumers to stay home.

“The final week of September saw the worst total footfall levels since the last week July this year, shortly after the last Covid restrictions were lifted, demonstrating the fragility of consumer confidence and how the economic recovery from Covid can be so easily undermined.”

Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, added: “The UK’s footfall recovery is far from tanking when we look across to our European counterparts – while shopper traffic in the UK is down 17% on pre-pandemic levels, the likes of France and Germany are still seeing footfall down by over a third.

“Looking ahead, retailers will be counting on the Golden Quarter to capitalise on Christmas trade as the High Street’s recovery continues – and with our research showing 79% of consumer will start festive shopping between now and the start of December, October and November will be critical months to encourage shoppers back into store.”