What have the Great British public, Kiss and all the villains in Scooby Doo got in common?
We all got unmasked in the end.
Last month Boris announced the lifting of Plan B Covid19 restrictions. Many people breathed a sigh of relief, which probably immediately fogged up their glasses. And, as a shop fittings manufacturer, we were keen to find out what effect lifting the restrictions has had on retail.
Here is the top line.
In the UK, the total footfall in retail destinations rose almost 2% following the end of the Plan B guidance.
So, we dug deeper and looked at individual retail locations.
In the full month of January, high streets recovered least well compared to pre-pandemic stats. They saw footfall down about 26% on 2019. Footfall had also dropped 25.5% in shopping centres and just over 4% in retail parks in the same period.
But, we drilled down further.
In the second half of January there was an actual improvement in footfall on the high streets; it strengthened from nearly 30% to just over 22% behind 2019 levels. Whereas, during that same period in January both shopping centres and retail parks footfall slightly worsened.
The bump in footfall was always going to happen as we all got unmasked and as office staff got back to in-town offices and confidence (or optimism) increased. So this is the time when retailers need to maximise every single bit of footfall, and refreshing shop fittings is a great way to do that.
I was talking to a friend in Scotland earlier. She often visits a local shop in which the store owner displays their products so beautifully and with such art, that she will often spend over the odds as she feels the products are “calling to her”. When she said this, it reminded me of some work we did recently around the psychology of store design. That is coming next time!