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Retail

UK Shopper Numbers Edge Higher As End Of Restrictions Nears

The number of people heading out to shops across Britain rose by 0.5% in the week to 20 March from a week earlier, the eighth rise in nine weeks despite a national lockdown, market researcher Springboard has said.

It said shopper numbers, or footfall, climbed 4% on UK high streets, but fell 4.4% in retail parks and 2.3% in shopping centres.

Footfall across Britain remained 40.8% lower than during the same week last year, Springboard added.

Third National Lockdown

England entered a third national lockdown on 4 January to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatened to overwhelm the health system.

The rules in England closed schools to most pupils, people were told to work from home where possible and all hospitality and non-essential shops were closed. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland imposed similar measures.

Some essential shops such as food outlets and home improvement retailers have been allowed to stay open.

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a roadmap out of the latest pandemic-related lockdown.

Schools in England reopened for in-person lessons on 8 March  and non-essential shops are scheduled to open again on 12 April.

Previous Week

Last week, Springboard data showed that the number of people heading out to shops across Britain rose by 7% in the week to 13 March from a week earlier, the seventh rise in eight weeks, despite a national lockdown.

Insights director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, commented, "The steady increase in visits to high streets and shopping centres delivers further evidence of the degree of pent up demand amongst consumers to return to stores."

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

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