As bars, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas reopened, town centres saw an uplift in visitor numbers.
On Saturday 4th July, a Super Saturday footfall increase was experienced across the UK as the hospitality sector welcomed back customers after months of being in lockdown. There was a significant increase in traffic compared to a week ago, bringing welcome footfall to retail stores.
The first day that restaurants, cinemas, pubs and hairdressers were allowed to open saw footfall increase by just under 10% week on week by late afternoon. After 5pm, it picked up, rising 35.8% compared to a week prior.
According to Springboard, a company which provides data on customer activity in retail and hospitality outlets, footfall on UK high streets remained lower than that of a year ago, with the number of people visiting town centres on Saturday about half the level of last year across the country. In central London, it was 75% lower.
This has been put down to consumer confidence still taking time to return fully, as well as some venues choosing not to open straight away, even though the government has allowed them to do so. Those that have taken the decision to open are forced to limit customer numbers in order to comply with social distancing rules.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said the overall increase in the number of visitors was a positive sign for towns and cities, which have been hit by a greater decline in footfall than local high streets up until now. Following the Super Saturday footfall increase, the numbers are expected to rise as more businesses open their premises and as customer willingness to travel and spend time outside the home continues to grow.
The latest figures also revealed a significant increase in footfall across Scottish towns and cities after the five-mile travel limit for most of the country was lifted on Friday. Springboard said footfall rose by 69.7% from the week before, on the first weekend of trading since the relaxation of the guidelines.