Footfall across all retail destinations rose between January and February this year, as customers flocked back to stores in anticipation of the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Footfall rose 16% from January to February 2021 – the largest month-on-month increase since Springboard started collecting data.

The biggest surge was recorded on high streets, up 18% month on -month, as shoppers gained confidence, while retail parks and shopping centres experienced a 17% and 12% rise respectively.

On an annual basis, footfall inched up to -61%, up from -66% the previous month.

Springboard has predicted footfall will surge 48% when stores reopen on April 12, as shoppers make up for lost time.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “This is clear evidence of a growing lockdown fatigue, with shoppers becoming increasingly keen to visit bricks-and-mortar destinations as a leisure activity, despite non-essential stores remaining closed until April 2021. 

“This is likely to be a combination of increased optimism following the announcement of the roadmap to reopening and the success of the vaccine programme, which reinforces Springboard’s forecast for significant uplift in footfall in retail destinations of +47.9% in the first week of reopening on April 12.

“At the same time, however, the overall level of footfall in retail destinations is still only 39% of that in 2020, and we know that in the summer of 2020, when footfall peaked in August after reopening in June, it still remained 25% below the level in the year before.

“Even with increased consumer confidence generated by the success of the vaccine programme, retailers will have a significant amount of ground to make up if they are to recover to anywhere near pre-Covid levels, reinforcing the need for the high street restart grants to support retailers announced by the chancellor in the Budget.”