24 august 2022
Footfall levels on London’s Oxford Street continued on an upward trajectory in July 2022, up 24% from the previous month*, suggesting international travel has finally made its long-awaited return.
According to RSM UK’s analysis of the latest data from Datscha, footfall as a whole increased 16% in July 2022, compared to the previous month**. As well as London, Leeds (up 26%), Brighton (up 19%) and Newcastle (up 14%) also saw significant increases in footfall.
A combination of factors will have contributed to the positive footfall levels in July, including the prolonged period of hot weather and the beginning of school summer holidays. Major events are also likely to have drawn international tourists to the UK, including the Women’s Euros, with the finals being hosted at Wembley Stadium.
Footfall levels have remained robust despite external factors such as the rail strikes, putting a further strain on the retail and wider hospitality industry. Footfall continues to go against the trend of falling consumer confidence which hit an all-time low in July.
Jacqui Baker, partner and head of retail at RSM UK, comments: ‘Retailers are reaping the benefits of increased footfall. Despite the mounting pressures being faced by consumers in the form of rising energy prices, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, footfall levels have managed to hold up significantly well in July. While it’s managing to resist succumbing to the same drops in consumer confidence, we suspect there’s a lag and it’s only a matter of time before footfall starts to follow suit.
‘It will undoubtedly be a tough period ahead for the retail sector. With another jump in energy bills looming in October, this will see consumers tighten their belts even further. It’s crucial that retailers start thinking ahead in terms of how they can cut costs and continue to attract consumers to their stores. The coming months will be an opportune time for the government to step in and provide additional assistance, or there’s a very bumpy ride ahead for these retailers.’
*1.27m (June 2022) vs 1.57m (June 2022).
** 7.93m (July 2022) vs 9.16m (July 2022).