Retail footfall is predicted to rise by 19.7 per cent this week, as shoppers take to high streets and towns now free of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions with face coverings and social distancing no longer mandatory in England.
In the latest from the retail analysts, Springboard, footfall is tipped to peak throughout the first weekend of ‘freedom’, with expected rises of 32.2 per cent on Friday, July 23 and 39.5 per cent on Saturday, July 24.
While the removal of restrictions in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will not be as comprehensive as in England, the fact that footfall in England accounts for around 85 per cent of all footfall in the UK will drive an uplift in overall shopper activity.
The degree of the increase in footfall is expected to differ across the three key retail destination types. The removal of remaining restrictions on the hospitality sector including restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs, will help the high street to a 25 per cent footfall increase, Springboard predicts.
This will be followed by an 18 per cent increase in footfall at Shopping Centres, while retail parks are tipped to see the lowest increases, at 10 per cent.
The anticipated uplift following Phase 3 of the government’s easing of restrictions is forecast to be significantly greater than the one per cent observed when indoor hospitality reopened in May this year.
The current good weather also has a role to play in the increases, as does Freedom Day’s coincidence with the start of the school holidays and the number of Brits choosing to summer holiday within the UK this year.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director, said: “The long awaited Freedom Day on Monday will see footfall bounce back across the UK, to a more significant magnitude than when indoor hospitality reopened in May, with rises seen across all three retail destinations.
“With summer holiday commencing and many opting for a Summer Staycation in the UK, footfall will continue to rise throughout JUly and into August as many look to enjoy the good weather.”
‘Freedom Day’ hasn’t, however, been welcomed by all with many leaders in the retail space calling for public caution and consideration when shopping, including the use of facemasks in shops and taking their own measures on social distancing.