New Street Wine Shop, London

Streets were left empty in May as the continues lockdown wiped footfall

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UK retail footfall in May dropped over 80%, a shallower decline than April as more shops were allowed to reopen.

Data from the BRC-Shoppertrak footfall monitor covering the four weeks to May 30, showed total footfall down 82% - with shopping centres as the worst affected location, down 85% year-on-year.

High street footfall fell 78% during the month, faring better due to the storng popularity of local convenience stores. 

Retail Parks meanwhile, saw footfall decrease by 55%, due to wider open spaces in comparison to other locations and a higher proportion of supermarkets.

“The second month of lockdown has continued to show a significantly reduced level of footfall in all retail locations. The decline was less severe than April as more retailers, including garden centres and homeware shops, began to reopen, though the vast majority of stores remained closed,” BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said.

As shops start reopening today, retailers will hope for a pick-up in footfall similar to that experienced by other countries, which have seen footfall rise by around 15-25% in the initial weeks after lifting lockdowns.

However, Dickinson warned reopening shops is “unlikely to deliver immediate relief”, due to low consumer confidence and limits on shopper numbers in store. 

She added: “The Government should consider options to stimulate demand, such as a short-term reduction in VAT or a temporary income tax cut for lower-income workers. As they return to serving the country, there is still a risk that many physical shops could end up closing their doors again – only this time, permanently.”

Morning update

The FTSE 100 started the day down 2.2% at 5,973.72pts.

Early risers included Applegreen up 5.7% at 370p, Hotel Chocolat up 2.3% at 307p and Marston’s up 0.1% at 65.54p.

Fallers saw WH Smith open down 4.2% at 1,096p, SSP Group down 3.9% at 262.80p and Greggs down 3.2% at 1,600.58p.

This week in the City

It looks to be another relatively quiet week for scheduled statements in the food and drinks sector.

On Tuesday Coca Cola HBC will hold its annual general meeting with updates on its current performance likely to be delivered, while the following day Domino’s also releases a trading update ahead of its AGM.

Origin Enterprises is scheduled to release a trading update on Wednesday, while in the US grocery giant and Ocado partner Kroger will release its first quarter results on Thursday.

The ONS retail figures for May will be released on Friday morning.