Many retail executives will most likely be disheartened by the news that UK retail footfall has dipped 81% compared to this time last year. Due to COVID-19 the majority of retail businesses have been forced to close their physical stores and are approaching a disappointing Easter weekend.
Compared to the first week of lockdown, footfall on Saturday, April 4th rose by 9.5% and 21.3 % on Sunday, April 5th, as the warm weather no doubt enticed UK residents out of their home. The rise in footfall, however, will mean little to UK executives who will see no correlation between footfall and physical store sales.
Both large UK retail chains and small independent businesses are bracing themselves for a disappointing Easter weekend, where they would have usually seen a surge in sales. Compared to this time last year, high streets have experienced a massive 84.4% drop-off in sales, whilst retail parks have experienced a similar 71.5% decline.
Customer data and intelligence company, Springboard, have warned UK retail executives that this Easter weekend would be “unrecognisable” for UK retailers. The insights director for Springboard, Diane Wehrle, said: “It is impossible to draw any real comparison between Easter this year and Easter in preceding years – we have never been beset with such swathing restrictions that have impacted the entire economy and restricted spending so comprehensively.”
When faced with an uncertain future, many retail executives are choosing to provide help where they can, to help the UK battle COVID-19 as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, clothing brand Levi’s are donating an impressive £2.4m to COVID-19 related causes and jewellery brand Tiffany’s have followed suit donating £800,000.
Looking ahead to the future, major UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has also pledged to take part in a fundraising initiative that will help vulnerable people and people who have been strongly affected by COVID-19. All of the Big 4 supermarkets in the UK will be taking part in an in-store and online fundraising pledge to match all customer donations that are made between April 9th to May 1st.
As we look past Easter and into the summer months, it is hard to know how much further UK retail stores will be affected by the ongoing pandemic. The one positive we can draw from the situation is the generous donations UK retail executives have made towards defeating the pandemic.
Anthony Gregg will continue to bring you the latest industry news as the lockdown continues.