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Bank Holiday footfall drops as leisure trumps retail

A focus on socialising and dining drove down retail Bank Holiday footfall by 3.3% this year, according to the latest figures from Springboard.

The figures, which cover Saturday 27 August to Monday 29 August, show that footfall increased after 5pm on each day – suggesting a focus on leisure activities over retail.

Footfall at shopping centres (-6.7%) saw the biggest drop. But it also fell at retail parks (-2.8%) and on the high street (-1.7%). Figures after 5pm, however, were much higher than the equivant periods in 2015.

Of the evening periods, only the three hours on Saturday between 5pm and 8pm (-1.79%) were below that recorded 12 months previously. The equivalent times on Sunday (+7.9%) and Monday (+13.7%) had significantly increased footfall.

It was a similar story for night-time hours (8pm until midnight), which had even higher year-on-year increases in footfall. The Monday night period had the highest increase – a 22% rise.

Springboard marketing and insights director Diana Wehrle said: “These results indicate the growth in trips focusing on experience rather than trips purely to buy products, and the growth of the hospitality sector.”

She added that the overall drop in retail footfall came “despite hot and fine weather last week. Even the combination of the pay weekend, back to school shopping and bank holiday Saturday wasn’t enough to uplift footfall into positive territory.”

She added that the high street figures were particularly strong in certain regions: “In high streets, footfall rose in six areas and averaged +2.9%, with just four areas recording drops, which averaged -2.1%. To some degree the overall result for high streets belies their strong performance, as in five of the six areas in which footfall rose, the uplift was greater than +3%.”


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