UK Consumers Remain Cautious About Returning To High Streets

By Dayeeta Das
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UK Consumers Remain Cautious About Returning To High Streets

The number of shoppers visiting UK retailers was down by nearly 50% last week compared with a year earlier and the amount of money spent in pubs and restaurants as they reopened last weekend suffered a similar fall, new data has shown.

The British Retail Consortium said footfall in shopping streets and centres fell by 49.6% year on year, only a slightly less severe decline than the previous week's 53.4% slide.

On a week-on-week basis, the total retail footfall increased by 15.3%, with high streets and shopping centres seeing more shoppers than retail parks.

'Shopping With A Purpose'

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant – EMEA of ShopperTrak, said, "Those shoppers that make it out to the high street, retail parks, or shopping centres are more likely to be shopping with a purpose now, but with restricted numbers being allowed in, the pressure is still on.

"Retailers are serving less people, with greater overheads, so are of course looking to technology to assist with occupancy levels and social distancing. If you can free colleagues to help customers find what they want faster, they will be better utilised than standing at the door counting people."


In high streets, footfall declined by 55.7% year on year, while retail parks dropped by 24.6% compared to the same period last year.

Shopping centres registered a 56.1% year-on-year decline in this period.

Restrictions Relaxed

Non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen in England on 15 June while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also relaxed their restrictions now.

"By European standards, the UK's recovery remains slow, and while safety measures introduced by retailers have been well received by customers, many shoppers are still reluctant to visit physical shopping locations," the BRC's chief executive Helen Dickinson said.


Separately on Tuesday, Barclaycard said the total value of transactions across hospitality, leisure and entertainment between July 4-5 was down 45% compared with the same weekend last year.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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