Despite the ‘green shoots’ of retail’s recovery this past week as stores witnessed increased buzz around lockdown easing and the country’s re-opening, small shop owners are ‘not out of the woods yet,’ as footfall is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
According to Sensormatic’s footfall index, UK high street footfall rose 178 per cent week on week on April 17th. In England, shopper traffic almost trebled, rising by 196 per cent week on week on April 17th. The firm states that in Wales, footfall increased 168 per cent on the week before.
Despite this, warns Sensomatic – an expert in retail solutions – footfall has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, with shopper traffic down almost a third on April 17th, compared with the same day in 2019.
Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic retail consultant for EMEA, said: “Retailers will have felt a boost this week, as pent-up demand – not just for spending but also for the experience of going shopping – drew consumers into stores after months of closure. However, even this pent-up demand hasn’t yet been enough for footfall to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
“So, while the first green shoots of retail’s recovery are promising, retailers are far from being out the woods yet. Retailers will be counting on shoppers continuing to return to stores past the reopening phase if any real, long-term recovery is to be sustained – now is the time for consumers to vote with their feet and choose to ‘use or lose’ the stores that serve their communities.”
Last week saw toy shops open their doors after months of closure at the hands of lockdown restrictions. Early reports suggested a ‘buzz of local shoppers’ as the allure of high street shopping, coupled with Christmas voucher hangover and pent-up spending fueled footfall during what was the second week of school Easter holidays.
Toy shops in England expressed their own delight to be re-opening their brick and mortar businesses, with some using the Easter trading period as a marker for expectations this summer with more Brits forced to stay at home under current travel restrictions.