Footfall has plummeted since the imposition of the new lockdown in England and is down by 75% on a year ago, according to figures highlighting the dramatic impact of the tough new restrictions on retailers.
Data compiled by the British Retail Consortium and ShopperTrak, and seen by the Guardian, underlined how a burst of consumer activity before the lockdown came to an abrupt halt when non-essential retailers were forced to close their doors.
Footfall was down by more than 70% year on year in each of the four days since the restrictions were imposed, culminating in an annual drop of 78% on Sunday.
The picture for retailers was only slightly brighter than during the spring lockdown, when footfall was down by 82%.
Kyle Monk, the director of insight at the BRC, said: “Footfall has plummeted since the second lockdown took effect. Retailers who have been forced to close will be counting the cost of each passing day, which is why it is vital they are able to reopen from 2 December. Furthermore, the government must provide necessary support to affected businesses throughout the coming months.”
Footfall was already down by about a third year on year in late October but the BRC data revealed a mass exodus from high streets and shopping centres from 5 November onwards.
Retail parks, which contain a higher proportion of supermarkets and also tend to benefit from click and collect, fared better but still recorded a footfall drop of more than 50% on Sunday.
Andy Sumpter, a retail consultant at ShopperTrak, said: “Sunday to Wednesday saw a significant uptick in footfall, as many shoppers rushed in store to pick up essentials and fast-forwarded Christmas shopping.
“Retail parks outperformed other retail settings, rising to +8.6% – the first time since the initial lockdown that any retail setting has gone into positive performance – but this was followed by the inevitable, as footfall levels fell off a cliff edge once again as the nation locked down.”