The Scotsman

Largest ever decline in shopping footfall

- By HENRY SAKER-CLARK

Shops had their biggest ever decline in footfall last month as people stayed at home because of the coronaviru­s pandemic, figures have found.

Springboar­d’s latest monthly monitor revealed a “decline of unpreceden­ted magnitude” in April as the number of people at retail sites plummeted by 80 per cent.

The slump was almost double the level of the downturn in March, which posted 41 per cent decline as the lockdown came into force part-way through the month.

Retail parks were the least affected by the lockdown restrictio­ns last month, the report said, but still saw footfall dive by 68 per cent.

The presence of supermarke­ts and wide-open spaces which allowed for better social distancing meant retail parks performed slightly better.

High streets reported a decline of 83 per cent, while shopping centre footfall slid by 85 per cent for the month.

The data revealed that footfall shifted away from large towns and cities to smaller local shopping areas, with the most modest drops in footfall coming in smaller towns or areas.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboar­d, said: “While this is somewhat inevitable given the closure of all but essential stores, it is perhaps indicative of consumers getting into a new rhythm around shopping and working from home.

“It is the first evidence available that suggests how consumers may respond to easing of restrictio­ns.”

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