Footfall in retail shops in Britain continued to decrease significantly in May but slightly improved compared with April as some shops returned to business during the eased lockdown, a report said Friday.
Footfall decreased by 81.6 percent year on year. Retail parks, with more supermarkets and essential stores on their sites, saw a shallower decline in footfall while high streets and shopping centers remained massively down over the previous year, according to a latest report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
“The decline was less severe than April as more retailers, including garden centers and homeware shops, began to reopen, though the vast majority of stores remained closed,” said Helen Dickinson, chief-executive of the BRC.
On Monday, all non-essential retailers are able to reopen in England as part of the government’s further move to relax restrictions. Queues are expected outside some shops ahead of their opening times. Primark, a fast fashion retailer, tweeted: “There might be queues on our first few days of opening so please consider this before travelling.”
However, some analysts cautioned the reopening of non-essential shops is unlikely to deliver immediate relief.
“A mix of low consumer confidence and limits on the number of people able to enter stores mean that many shops will continue to suffer lower footfall — and lower sales — for some time to come,” Dickinson said.
“In the short term we expect consumers will visit less, but buy more each visit, making each shopper all the more precious. Footfall has a totally new value,” said Andy Sumpter, retail consultant at ShopperTrak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday that people should be able to “shop with confidence” when non-essential stores reopen in England on Monday.
Speaking during a visit to the Westfield shopping center in east London, the prime minister said he hoped to see a “gradual” build-up in the numbers of people returning to the high street.
“I am very optimistic about the opening up that is going to happen tomorrow…I think people should shop and shop with confidence, but they should of course observe the rules on social distancing and do it as safely as possible,” he said.