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    High street footfall boosted as Brits return to office

    (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)

    Footfall across retail destinations got a boost last week as Britons returned to UK high streets following train strikes though the gap to pre-pandemic levels remained visible, stated a recently released report.

    According to retail experts MRI Springboard, footfall across all UK retail destinations were up by +9.1 per cent annually, with a week-on-week footfall boost of +1.6 per cent. Largest increase across destination type was seen on high streets with +2.4 per cent weekly increase, against modest week-on-week rises at retail parks (+0.9 per cent) and shopping centres (+0.8 per cent).

    Central London ‘Back to the Office’ benchmark rose up +36.4 per cent compared to 2022 with week-on-week footfall up by +5 per cent as workers returned following rail strikes. Increase was seen across cities outside the capital as well with +19 per cent rise at regional cities.

    Gap to 2019 remained at familiar level of -14.5 per cent across all UK retail destinations.

    In comparison, footfall outside city centres experienced more muted annual increases. Footfall increased annually by just +6.6 per cent at market towns and +8.8 per cent at historic towns.

    Diane Wehrle, insights director at MRI Springboard, comments, “Footfall across UK retail destinations rose last week from the week before with increases across all three destination types. However, last week was clearly a week when consumers returned to UK high streets following train strikes in the week before last. Whilst the uplift in high street footfall from the week before was only in line with the average from the start of 2022, it was three times as great as in retail parks and shopping centres.

    “On an annual basis too, the rise in footfall in high streets was nearly double that in shopping centres and ten times that in retail parks. By far the greatest recovery in high footfall from 2022 occurred in large city centres – in London and elsewhere across the UK – most probably driven by employees returning to their offices, whilst there were far more modest year on year increases in smaller high streets.

    “Performance was positive across much of the UK, with rises in footfall from the week before in seven of the ten geographies.”

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