Footfall nudged by Black Friday but still remains below pre-pandemic level

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Black Friday gave footfall in UK retail destinations a nudge by 3.2 per cent last week from the week before, with rises in consumer activity across all three key destination types.

According to latest data from Springboard, shopping centres were the most popular destination with a rise in footfall of 5.2 per cent versus 2.3 per cent in high streets and 2.7 per cent in retail parks.

Shopping centres were also the winner on Black Friday with a rise in footfall of 16.8 per cent, followed by high streets (+11.3 per cent) and then retail parks (+7.1 per cent). However, despite the uplift, footfall was still 14.1 per cent below the 2019 pre-pandemic level over the week and 17.5 per cen% down on Black Friday in 2019.

By Saturday, footfall across all destinations levelled out with a rise of only 0.6 per cent from the week before, although in shopping centres footfall rose by 3.8 per cent. Sunday provided a further boost for retailers with a rise in footfall of 5.9 per cent overall (+7 per cent in shopping centres, +6.2 per cent in high streets and +4.1 per cent in retail parks).

Footfall rose annually last week by 4.2 per cent, which was an improvement on the 2.8 per cent increase in the week before, and on Black Friday footfall was 9.3 per cent higher than in 2021 across all UK retail destinations. Whilst shopping centres recorded a higher uplift than high streets on Black Friday from the week before, the annual increase in high streets was greater than in shopping centres (+15.8 per cent versus +5.6 per cent) demonstrating that high streets had bounced back from last year to a greater degree.

Not unexpectedly, large city centres were the most appealing for consumers over the Black Friday week, with increases of 4.9 per cent in Central London and 4.3 per cent in cities outside London, and up 13.3 per cent and 17.8 per cent on Black Friday itself.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “UK retail destinations received a boost last week from Black Friday, with an increase in footfall from the week before that was twice as large as in the previous week.

“Footfall rose in all three destination types, but shopping centres fared particularly well, which is a result we would expect to see as shopping centres comprise a critical mass of larger retailers, the vast majority of which actively participate in the event. However, notably, footfall still remained significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels, indicating consistent nervousness around spending in the current climate.”