High Streets Task Force PRDG June Insight Report

Data from the Task Force Professional Research and Data Group, generated in order to inform practice and policy for high streets across England. This June 2021 insight report includes significant detail on high street footfall and business and retail sales impacts of COVID-19. It is available both as a PDF, as a PowerPoint presentation and video recording.

Date added 7 July 2021
Last updated 8 July 2021

The Professional Research and Data Group, is a key part of the High Streets Task Force. Since COVID-19 the High Streets Task Force has pivoted to focus on supporting place leaders through the COVID-19 crisis. This has meant refocusing the PRDG to a new aim: to work collaboratively, using our data, networks, skills and expertise to:

  • Understand the scale of the crisis and its impact on town centres/high streets
  • Support government with evidence/data for policy/response
  • Provide/sense-check the evidence-base for HSTF action and messaging

This June 2021 presentation summarises the latest data, research and insight the members of the PRDG have generated in order to inform practice and policy for high streets across England.

The PRDG membership is:

Royal Town Planning Institute (Chair)

Institute of Place Management (Research Lead & team)

Cardiff University

Centre for Towns (CfT)

Manchester Metropolitan University


Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)


Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Ordnance Survey

PwC (secretariat)

This month’s PRDG research summary is available in three versions: PDF report (attached above), PowerPoint presentation (click here) and video recording (click here). This month's data pack includes:

  • Footfall data for the UK demonstrating that it has been falling since the end of February and that footfall on the 5th July 2021 was down 37.0% compared to the same day in 2019, but up 2.3% compared to the same day last week.
  • ONS data showing the business impact of COVID-19 in the UK. The data illustrates that the majority of businesses do continue to trade (88.0%), and that the Accommodation and Food Service Activities sector and the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector are increasingly reopening. There is still an overall fall in turnover for 30.3% of businesses surveyed, however, only 6.1% reported having workforce on furlough. In May 2021, retail sales volumes decreased by 1.4% compared to April 2021, however, volumes were in fact 9.1% higher when compared with February 2020 pre-lockdown level. Online sales experienced a slight decrease, accounting for 27.3% of total retail sales in May, down from 29.4% the month before (-2.1%).