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UK Shopper Numbers Up 1.1% Week On Week As Indoor Hospitality Reopens

Shopper numbers across Britain rose 1.1% in the week to 22 May compared with the previous week, helped by the reopening of indoor hospitality after months of COVID-19 lockdown, researcher Springboard said on Monday.

It said shopper numbers, or footfall, increased 2.4% across UK high streets and by 1% in shopping centres, but fell 1.7% in retail parks.

Springboard said there had been a significant 4% increase week-on-week in footfall on high streets after 5 pm in the afternoons.

"The reopening of indoor dining on Monday of last week certainly supported footfall in UK retail destinations in the face of prolonged, and often severe, rain across virtually all of the UK for much of the week," said Diane Wehrle, Springboard's insights director.

She also noted clear gravitation towards larger cities away from local high streets, as consumers sought a greater choice of dining options.

Footfall Numbers 

Footfall across all UK retail destinations remained more than a quarter below the 2019 level - before the pandemic started to disrupt traffic last year.

The crisis has hammered Britain's retail sector, leaving gaping holes on the main shopping streets and costing tens of thousands of jobs.

Non-essential stores reopened in England and Wales on 12 April after more than three months of lockdowns. They reopened in Scotland on 26 April and Northern Ireland on 30 April. Indoor hospitality was allowed from 17 May.

Official data published on Friday showed British retail sales surged in April as shoppers splashed out on new clothes

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern Checkout. For more retail news click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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