Retail park footfall strong despite February downpours

  •    Author: Mike Jasfer

February’s retail performance highlighted the fragility of high streets, with the severe rain leading to a YoY drop in high street footfall of -7.8%, reports Springboard.
Shopping centres and retail parks still appealed to many by virtue of either their covered environment or ease of access and proximity of parking, says Springboard – retail park footfall declined by just -1.1%, while that to shopping centres fell by -2.5%. This latter performance led to an average decline over the first two months of the year of -1.1% (versus -2.5% in the same period in 2019), indicating that shopping centres are on the cusp of achieving some stability in terms of footfall.
Larger shopping centres are leading the recovery, says Springboard – in those of more than half a million sqft footfall dropped by just -1.1% compared with -4.2% in smaller centres and -8.0% in centres of less than 100,000 sqft.
Coronavirus did not have a noticeable impact on footfall in February, but the month ended before the warning of its increased severity was made.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s marketing and insights director, comments: “The resilience of retail parks and shopping centres demonstrates that coronavirus did not have a noticeable impact on footfall in February – if Covid-19 had been a significant factor then it is likely that all three destination types would have been impacted more equally.
“However, the month ended before the warning of its increased severity in the UK was made, and so moving forward it is likely that shopper activity will be stemmed as consumers become more wary about interacting in public spaces. Whilst it seems that the first quarter of 2020 will yield yet more challenges for bricks-and-mortar retailers, experience has proven that footfall bounces back quickly once the immediate period of concern has passed.”

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