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Retail Footfall Boosted By Warm Bank Holiday

Cunaplus_M.Faba / iStock / 1087671624

MRI Software has published its latest OnLocation Index for week 19, covering Sunday 5th to Saturday 11th May 2024.


2024 vs 2023: +4.7%
Week-on-week: +2.0%

High Street

2024 vs 2023: +7.0%
Week-on-week: +4.1%

Shopping Centre

2024 vs 2023: +0.7%
Week-on-week: -0.2%

Retail Park

2024 vs 2023: +3.9%
Week-on-week: 0.0%

Jenni Matthews, Marketing & Insights Director, OnLocation for Footfall Analytics at MRI Software, said: 

The end of the Early May Day Bank Holiday weekend combined with warm weather across the UK led to a week on week rise in footfall in high streets. However, footfall remained steady in retail parks while shopping centres experienced a slight dip.

Despite a sluggish start to the week, likely influenced by rail strike action, high streets were book ended with double digit rises in footfall on both Sunday and Friday resulting in strong performance overall for the week. All retail destinations witnessed a decline in activity on Saturday from the week before however this may have been to the benefit of coastal and market towns as visitors made the most of the warm weather.

Coastal towns were the clear winners last week witnessing a rise that was almost double that of historic and market towns. However, it’s likely that last week’s rail strike action dampened footfall in Central London and office locations within the city (MRI Software’s Central London Back to Office benchmark) with marginal declines recorded when compared to the week prior. 

Annual footfall levels remained significantly higher than 2023 in all retail destinations suggesting a rebound from the lull following the Kings Coronation celebrations which took place during the same week last year.

Footfall rose by +2% in all UK retail destinations last week when compared with the week prior as high streets led the charge witnessing a rise of +4.1%. However, retail parks observed no changes week on week whereas shopping centres saw footfall decline marginally by -0.2%

High street locations observed double digit rises in footfall on Sunday (+24.3%) and Friday (+16%) paving the way for a strong week overall, despite the declines in activity on Monday and Tuesday averaging -6.9% likely as a result of the rail strike action which took place. A mixed week emerged for retail parks and shopping centres as footfall declined marginally on two out of the seven days with Saturday seeing the greatest decline, much to the benefit of coastal and market towns.

The warmer weather last week may have contributed to footfall rising by +14.4% week on week in coastal towns which was almost three times higher than the rise recorded in market towns (+5.5%) highlighting the impact of the weather in driving visitors to seaside locations. Central London and office locations within the city weren’t as lucky as footfall declined marginally by -1% and -0.6%, respectively, likely as a result of rail disruptions throughout the week.

Footfall remained +4.7% higher than 2023 levels, driven by a +7% uplift in high streets followed by a much more subdued rise in retail park (+3.9%) and shopping centres (+0.7%). 

It’s clear to see that the overall impact of rail strikes on retail footfall appear to be subsiding; despite disruptions occurring throughout the week, footfall continued to rise both week on week and year on year in high streets. This is where we would normally expect to see the greatest effect however with the bank holiday weekend and warmer weather, it could be that towns and cities are kickstarting their summer events and festivals to drive footfall which is evident from the uplift in activity observed at either end of the week.

Source : MRI Software

Image : Cunaplus_M.Faba / iStock / 1087671624

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13 May 2024

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