Coronavirus: Retail footfall plummets as UK obeys lockdown

A deserted Oxford Street in London. Photo: Getty

The amount of people visiting shops last month has fallen to the lowest levels since records began as coronavirus forced consumers to stay at home.

Footfall in April was down 80%, even lower than March when it dropped by 41%, according to statistics provided by Springboard Research.

City and town centres were the worst affected areas, while people also stayed away from shopping centres and retail parks.

Diane Wehrle, director at Springboard, said: “This unprecedented drop in customer activity, which is of a magnitude never seen before, was universal across all destination types.

“Whilst these figures are somewhat inevitable given the closure of all but essential stores, it is perhaps indicative of consumers getting into a new rhythm around shopping and working from home.”

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Many retailers were in the doldrums before coronavirus struck because of rising costs and changes in people's shopping habits. Consumer confidence had also been knocked by Brexit.

Retail experts have warned that there could be further trouble ahead as the temporary closure of many shops during the pandemic has heaped more pressure on retailers.

Last month high street fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse fell into administration, leading to more than 200 job losses.

At the time administrator Deloitte said the coronavirus had had a "devastating effect on the entire retail industry.”

Other retailers such as Primark, have opted to cancel orders with their suppliers. Meanwhile, fashion chain New Look has informed its suppliers that payment for stock already sitting in its shops or distribution centre would be delayed "indefinitely."