Retail footfall in January has dropped significantly compared to the previous month due to train strikes and cash-strapped customers spending less after the festive season.

Footfall fell by 18.8% in January 2023 from December 2022, compared to a rise of 5.8% in December from November.


Springboard’s data shows that footfall decreased by 3.3% in the first week of January compared to the week before, but increased throughout the rest of the month.

However, footfall increased year-on-year in January 2023 by 10.7%, in comparison to an annual rise of 9.9% in December 2022.

Footfall on high streets was 15% higher than in January 2022, while shopping centres and retail parks saw 10.8% and 1.5% rises respectively.

The gap in overall footfall from 2019 grew to 12.3% in January. The figure for high streets was 15.8%, 16.2% in shopping centres and 0.7% for retail parks.

Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “This evidence reflects the efforts made by many businesses to encourage their employees back into the office following the Christmas break, but it also demonstrates the adverse impact on retail and hospitality businesses when employees opt to work from home during rail strikes. 

“We know that during the strikes in December footfall – particularly high street footfall – was severely impacted on the days of the strikes, but the full impact on economic performance was mitigated by the festive period providing an added incentive for consumers to divert their trips to shopping centres and retail parks. 

“With the festive period fully behind us, and the cost of living crisis hitting households hard, when hurdles to spending such as the rail strike are placed in the way, it is likely that many consumers will abandon shopping trips and rein in their spending instead, hindering economic recovery.”