’Lockdown fatigue’ Cited as UK Shopper Numbers Rose 9% Last Week

’Lockdown fatigue’ Cited as UK Shopper Numbers Rose 9% Last Week

A Primark store on an empty high street in December 2020. Getty.

The number of shoppers heading out to retail destinations across Britain rose by 9 percent last week from the previous week, indicating “lockdown fatigue” for people cooped up at home, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

Footfall across all retail destinations was 65 percent lower than in the same week last year, Springboard said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England into a new national lockdown on Jan. 4 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the health system.

Under the rules in England, schools are closed to most pupils, people should work from home if possible, and all hospitality and non-essential shops are closed. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have imposed similar measures.

Springboard said that in the week to Jan. 23 footfall was up 10.9 percent in UK high streets, 9.2 percent in shopping centers and 4.5 percent in retail parks compared to the previous week.

“Despite rain and snow last week across much of the UK, footfall rose in retail destinations last week from the week before for the first time in five weeks; perhaps providing the first indications of lockdown fatigue emerging once again,” said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.

“The last rise in footfall was in the peak Christmas trading week beginning 13th December, and even then the rise was only a third as large as last week’s,” she said.

By James Davey. Edited by Sarah Young and Keith Weir.

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