High Streets Task Force PRDG February 2021 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 February 2021 insight report includes significant detail on high street footfall, business impacts, and social media sentiment data. It is available both as a PDF and video recording.

Date added 13 October 2021
Last updated 13 October 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 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 February 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
  • Maybe*
  • Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Springboard
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Ordnance Survey
  • PwC (secretariat)

This month’s PRDG research summary is available in two versions: PDF report (attached above) 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 2020 and that footfall on the 22nd February 2021 was down 63.3% compared to the same figure last year, and down 3.3% compared to the same figure last week.
  • ONS data showing the business impact of COVID-19 in the UK. Data shows 72.5% of businesses surveyed are currently trading, and only 18.3% had staff on furlough. 46.2% of surveyed businesses did report that their turnover had decreased compared to what is normally expected for this time of year. In January 2021, retail sales volumes fell by 8.2% compared to December 2020, and volumes were 5.5% lower when compared with February 2020 pre-lockdown level.
  • Maybe* data showing high street social media activity and sentiment data from locations found on Google Maps looking at handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.