Heatwave drives shoppers into indoor malls and retail parks


Scorching temperatures across the UK are being blamed for a slight week on week drop in high street footfall of -0.5% for August 9-15, but retail parks and shopping centres grew by +1.9% and +2.4%, most likely because of their easy access and air conditioning.

Footfall across all retail destinations remains 32.5% lower than for the same week last year.


Data from retail analyst Springboard reveals suggest the hot weather helped tourist towns, with footfall increasing from the week before by +0.3% in coastal towns and by +0.9% in historic towns; seemingly marginal increases in both, but nevertheless a huge improvement on decreases of -4.1% and -2.5% in the same week last year when the weather was ten degrees cooler and rainy throughout the UK.

The impact of the weather on London was as noticeable but in reverse; whilst footfall declined marginally last year in Central London from the week before by -0.8%, this year it fell by -4.5%, and in high streets across Greater London as a whole by footfall dropped by -5.2% versus -2.3% in the same week last year.

The increase in activity in retail parks last week means that footfall is now just 13.2% lower than last year in this destination type, compared with shopping centres and high streets where footfall in both remains over a third lower than in 2019, with annual drops of -37.1% and -39.2% respectively.

“The first week of the peak summer holiday period delivered spectacularly hot weather but largely lacklustre footfall performance. Customer activity across UK retail destinations rose marginally from the week before but the uplift was less than a third of the increase recorded in the previous week. It was clearly high streets – where footfall marginally decreased – that subdued the overall result, whilst in shopping centres and retail parks footfall rose from the week before,” says Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard.

Week on week % change in footfall – 9-15 August 2020
  UK England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
High Streets -0.5% -1.0% 2.2% 1.8% 5.7%
Retail Parks 1.9% 1.7% 7.0% 1.5% -0.6%
Shopping Centres 2.4% 3.1% 6.6% -2.8% -6.1%
All destinations 0.8% 0.6% 4.5% 0.5% 2.7%


Year on year % change in footfall – 9-15 August 2020
  UK England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
High Streets -39.2% -39.9% -30.7% -41.5% -23.5%
Retail Parks -13.2% -13.1% -11.6% -16.0% -1.1%
Shopping Centres -37.1% -35.9% -38.5% -48.4% -22.3%
All destinations -32.5% -32.5% -28.1% -37.2% -23.2%


Footfall – 9-15 August 2020
  Year on year % change Week on week % change
Coastal Towns -22.1% 0.3%
Historic Towns -39.0% 0.9%
Regional Cities -52.7% -0.7%
Central London -65.4% -4.5%
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