Footfall in England: COVID-19 and reopening of retail

Professor Cathy Parker looks at the trends in footfall in England as towns and cities start to reopen their non-essential retail from Monday 15 June. Which towns have fared the best and what does the data tells us about how we're using high streets after COVID-19?

COVID-19 and the measures taken to reduce the spread of the pandemic in England have had a transformative effect on high streets, with little or no services and businesses open to attract people, apart from food retail. Now, as non-essential retail has begun to reopen again, the High Streets Task Force and its Professional Research and Data Group are tracking footfall data from across the country to help understand if people are returning to town and city centres, and in what numbers.

Here, Professor Cathy Parker, Research Lead for the Task Force, talks through footfall data provided by Task Force Partner Springboard, taken from the week following the reopening of non-essential retail (15 June). She asks:

  • Which towns and cities have seen the biggest footfall recovery?

  • What does footfall tell us about how people are using places following lockdown?

  • How far does the recovery have to go to return to pre-COVID-19 levels?