Covid-19: Reopening of hospitality boosts shopper traffic

Footfall on the UK’s high streets was boosted in early July by the reopening of bars and restaurants but it still leaves shopper numbers at less than half the levels compared to this time last year.

According to data from Springboard the week beginning July 5 saw a jump across all UK destinations of 10.6% on the previous week’s rise of a more modest 4.1% as a result of the positive effect of hospitality outlets reopening.

The effect was particularly prevalent on the UK high street, where most of the leisure-related units are located, with shopper numbers increasing 16.5% compared with only 0.7% on retail parks. These figures highlight how increasingly important is the relationship between retail and hospitality in attracting customers.

However, there is no escaping the fact that the footfall numbers remain significantly down on 2019. On the high street, they are 51.9% lower, in shopping centres 44.3% down, while retail parks are the least affected, with shopper numbers down a much lesser 20.5%.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The first complete week following the reopening of hospitality in England demonstrates the contribution that this sector makes to footfall in retail destinations.  The result was also supported by the positive impact on footfall from the easing of restrictions in other nations.”