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UK retailers at behest of unpredictable and extreme weather

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: City rain via Pexels

One minute it snowed, the next it rained, in what was a week of extreme weather. As a result, shoppers were less keen to venture out, with week-on-week footfall on UK high streets dropping by 10.1 percent.

Across all UK retail destinations the footfall gap to 2019 widened to -15.7 percent from -10.9 percent the week previous, according to data from MRI Springboard. The North and Yorkshire was the hardest hit region, footfall fell by -8.8 percent compared to 2022 as all UK regions saw week-on-week footfall drop

Weather disruption also encouraged working from home, according to MRI Springboard’s Central London ‘Back to the Office’ benchmark, which tracked a -11.1 percent week-on-week drop with the gap to 2019 hitting -24 percent.

High streets were by far the hardest hit by the severe weather with a decline in footfall of -10.1 percent, versus -5.1 percent in shopping centres many of which offer a sheltered enclosed environment, and -2.5 percent in retail parks.

Footfall declined each day last week, but over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday – before the worst of the storm hit - this averaged just -2.1 percent, versus an average decline of -13.3 percent over the three days from Wednesday to Friday when the weather was at its most severe.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at MRI Springboard, comments: “The extreme weather last week had a severe impact on footfall across UK retail destinations with a week-on-week decline which - apart from the post-Christmas week - was the worst for four months.

All destination types were impacted, but inevitably – with their exposure to the elements - by far the worst affected were high streets, with a decline in footfall from the week before which was double that in shopping centres and four times as great as in retail parks.

Whilst the most significant drop in footfall occurred over the three days from Wednesday to Friday, when the adverse weather hit the UK, there was a week on week decline in footfall on every day last week.

All UK geographies were impacted, with the greatest drops in footfall occurring in Wales, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland, and all types of high street felt the effect although city centres across the UK fared better than Central London.”

Article source: MRI Springboard

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