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15 Mar 2021 | 11:25

Shopping centre revival fuels rise in UK shopping visits - survey

(Sharecast News) - Weekly retail footfall in the UK rose 7%, suggesting pent-up demand among shoppers during the third Covid-19 lockdown, a survey showed.

Footfall rose on five days in the week to 13 March, led by shopping centres, Springboard said.

Visits to shopping centres rose 9.8% compared with 6.9% for retail parks and 5.7% for high streets. Shopping centres have been the hardest-hit of the three venues during the pandemic because of fewer food stores and their more confined space.

Overall the increase was the seventh in the past eight weeks, indicating a rising desire to shop with non-essential stores closed. The government is aiming to let all shops reopen on 12 April.

English shoppers were behind the national increase with an 8% gain compared with declines of less than 2% in each of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Diana Wehrle, Springboard's insights director, said: "With non-essential stores still closed, the steady increase in visits to high streets and shopping centres delivers further evidence of the degree of pent-up demand amongst consumers to return to stores."

Central London footfall rose 14.3%, the biggest gain in the survey, but the city's footfall was still 78% down on a year earlier, reflecting the hammering London's retailers have suffered.

Cities excluding London rose 2.3% on average. All types of town and city had an increase except coastal towns, which dropped 7.9%.

Shares of Hammerson, which owns shopping centres such as Brent Cross in London and Birmingham's Bullring, rose 6.7% to 37.3p at 12:06 GMT.
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