East’s high street recovery falters as post-bank holiday blues set in

East of England holidaymakers enjoying the late spring holiday sunshine

The late May bank holiday week provided a retail boost - but by the following week, shopper numbers were down again - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

The wind was taken out of East of England shoppers’ sails during the second week of June as many returned to work following a more leisurely start to the month, figures suggest.

Retail analysts Springboard recorded an 8.5% drop in footfall compared to the previous week across all shopping destinations in the region in the period from Sunday, June 6, to Saturday, June 12. This was above the 6.7% week-on-week decline across the UK as a whole.

The late May bank holiday week provided a retail boost

People out enjoying a day at the seaside on the East Anglian coast while stopping to enjoy burgers and ice cream - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The shopping experts put this down to a falling back from the highs of the previous week’s sunny late spring bank holiday and half term week which brought with it an atmosphere of optimism and a boost in visitor numbers to historic and seaside towns.

Footfall to towns across the East of England was up 141% on the same period last year during the pandemic — but it was down by 12.7% on the comparable pre-pandemic period in 2019.

Overall across the UK, high streets lost around half of the gain they made during the first week in June with a weekly decline in footfall of 9% versus a rise of 17.4% in the previous week. ·Coastal and historic towns saw the biggest drops at 19% and 13.1% respectively along with regional city centres (-13.4%) · Footfall across all UK retail destinations was -18.4% below the 2019 level.


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During the first week in June, there was an 11.4% week-on-week rise in footfall. Springboard’s analysis showed a dip in the second week of June across all three destination types. High streets lost around half of the gain made in the week before with a decline in footfall of 9% versus a rise of 17.4% in the previous week.

Shopping centres lost 7.5% of their footfall compared to the first week in June, which saw an 8.7% rise. Retail parks saw a 0.9% drop in the second week compared to a 2.3% gain the week before. 

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Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle said: “UK retail destinations suffered post bank holiday blues last week, with footfall dropping back by around half of the uplift recorded in the week before, when the school half term holiday coincided with the spring bank holiday and amazing weather. 

“Despite this, the gains made in the week before meant that the gap in footfall from 2019 remained narrower than at any point since the start of the pandemic other than last week. Footfall was lower than the week before on all but one day last week, with the greatest dips over the week inevitably occurring in towns that are appealing to visitors such as coastal and historic towns and city centres. 

“With many people returning to work, but continuing to do so from home, market towns and outer London high streets were once again the most resilient. Despite this largely positive news, with the removal of restrictions set to be delayed by as much as a month footfall is not likely to strengthen significantly over the next four weeks. 

“However, it should receive a huge boost in the second half of July, particularly as this coincides with the start of the school summer break.”


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