Covid restrictions force retailers to shut up shop in peak pre-Christmas trading days

Retailers saw footfall wiped out on what would usually be the busiest weekend for in-store shopping of the year, Sensormatic’s data from its retail analytics solution, ShopperTrak, revealed.

High Streets deserted on Super Saturday

Super Saturday (19 December), the last Saturday before Christmas and usually one of the busiest days of the year for in-store shopping, saw footfall drop by 40% year-on-year.  Sunday 20 December saw footfall drop even further as new covid-19 restrictions took hold, down 58% year on year (YOY).

The latest data from ShopperTrak’s footfall index, which captures 40 billion shopper visits each year, showed that High Streets were particularly badly affected, with footfall plummeting -44% on ‘Super Saturday’ compared to 2019.

Retail parks, still down on 2019, fared a little better, only down -24% thanks to their tenant mix, which usually includes essential retail businesses, such as out-of-town supermarkets.  However, by Sunday this fell further to -35%.

Cardiff and London among worst hit cities were footfall slumped

In London, footfall was particularly badly affected, down -81% – the third sharpest drop in the UK, third only to Portsmouth (-97%) and Cardiff (-89%) YOY, as High Streets became deserted.

“With 21 million people in England and Wales now subject to the toughest restrictions, the timing really couldn’t have been worse for retailers, with non-essential businesses yet again hit with a cruel blow, having to close in what would have been their busiest trading days in the run up to Christmas.

While footfall nationally fell -58% year-on-year, retail parks held up thanks to non-essential retail, such as out-of-town supermarkets, which usually reside at these locations.  Shopper numbers in retail parks were down just -35%, buoyed by many shoppers who had Christmas bubble plans cancelled heading out to pick up newly planned Christmas provisions.”

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s Retail Consultant EMEA for ShopperTrak

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