How Britain's high streets are recovering after lockdown – visual analysis

In this article The Guardian presents a visual analysis of data provided by the Local Data Company showing the percentages of English high street shops that hadn’t reopened in the weeks after lockdown relaxation. Figures vary from around 29% to as many as 54% in some areas, with inner cities suffering the most.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

Are our high streets really recovering from restrictions enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Recent research would suggest not, with many restaurants and shops remaining closed, in addition to footfall being significantly reduced.

Almost 1/3 (29%) of high street shops have not yet reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions, but in some areas that figure is over ½ (54%). However, as this Guardian article shows, recent data reveals that in addition to shop closures, "footfall on high streets has struggled to return to pre-lockdown levels, with visitors to inner-city areas down by half at the start of August. Tourists have helped boost footfall in some seaside towns recently, but these areas are still facing shop closures”.

Visual analysis is provided in this article on the state of a number of areas before lockdown, the percentage of shops closed during lockdown, and after lockdown. These graphics are provided for a variety of different types of areas across the UK, namely:

  • Manchester’s Spinningfields commercial district where, pre-lockdown, there was a thriving local business community; during lockdown, however, only 8% of all retail premises were open. Yet recent figures show that 42% of outlets and 38% of restaurants remain closed.
  • In contrast, Sale, Greater Manchester, before lockdown had a much more diverse retail offering, of which 75% closed during the lockdown period. Since the easing of lockdown restrictions, 88% of all outlets in Sale have reopened.

Similar graphical data are provided for:

  • Ealing, London
  • St. Ives, Cornwall
  • Kendal, Cumbria