Retail footfall continued to strengthen in September, narrowing the gap from 2019 to -17.4% from -18.6% in August, countering the downward trend in footfall often recorded in September – according to the latest Springboard figures.

Footfall declined by -20.3% Yo2Y in high streets, -23.6% in shopping centres and -4.6% in retail parks.

However, this September did benefit from the August bank holiday, which fell in August in 2019 – this boosted high street footfall, due to the popularity of daycations and staycations.

According to Springboard, the long-term impact of online in both reducing in-store browsing and in shifting some spending away from stores meant that footfall has declined by around -1.5% per annum over the past decade. Therefore, regardless of the pandemic, it is likely that retail footfall would have declined by -3% from 2019, and by some -4% in high streets, implying that the true impact of Covid on footfall is around -14% to -16%, states the retail intelligence expert.

It adds that the combination of employees returning to office working for at least part of the week, together with the beginnings of the return of overseas tourists, is set to further support the return of footfall in retail stores and destinations as the Christmas trading period nears.