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Weekend Shopper Numbers Improve but Still Down on 2019


Shoppers returned to shopping centres and High Streets across England over the weekend, however numbers are still much lower than before the pandemic.

Many businesses are relying on the curtailed pre-Christmas shopping period to offset the losses from two national lockdowns, however figures from market research company Springboard show shopper numbers to be a quarter lower than in 2019.

Footfall was down 30% across the UK compared to the same weekend in 2019.

Despite shoppers flocking to shopping areas such as Regent Street, Central London remains far emptier than usual due to the pandemic.

Springboard reported that shopper numbers in the capital on Sunday were half of what we’d normally see around the Christmas period.

Store owners also said that there were far fewer customers in their shops than they’d expect in the run up to Christmas.

"We definitely wouldn't have been as busy in the shop as we might have been in a normal year, particularly in the first weekend of December," said Rowena Howie, a boutique owner in central London.

Managing director of jewellery chain Beaverbrooks, Anna Blackburn, said there was a 10% increase in footfall across its 70 High Street shops over the weekend.

"There has been a trend of reducing footfall for sometime, but an increase in the average transaction size. People coming to the High Street are definitely spending more money," Blackburn said.

Blackburn also said there was a significant increase in the sales of engagement and wedding rings: "It's been a tough year, people want to treat their loved ones."

One encouraging sign for retailers is that shoppers are returning to public shopping areas in greater numbers after the second lockdown than they did after the first.

There was a 60% increase in footfall across England over this weekend when compared to the first weekend in June when shops reopened after the first countrywide lockdown.

Springboard's marketing director, Diane Wehrle, said: "Part of this is timing - the proximity to Christmas means there is huge pent up demand amongst consumers to shop in store to purchase gifts.

"However, it is also an indicator of 'lockdown fatigue', whereby after many months of being restricted to their homes, consumers are keen to visit retail stores again, particularly to experience the excitement of Christmas.

"They have become accustomed to the 'new normal' that involves wearing face masks in stores and queuing in order to adhere to social distancing rules which we were not all comfortable with in June."

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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