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Footfall rises

Shoppers give retailers uplift with return to malls

Intu Braehead

Footfall is almost back to last year’s level

Shoppers have returned to one of Scotland’s biggest shopping malls at almost the same rate as last year.

Footfall at intu Braehead near Glasgow is showing 92% of 2019’s levels, according to data compiled by KPMG.

Since the gradual re-opening of non-essential retail, footfall across 13 of the UK’s most well-known centres has been steadily improving week on week as more customers return to physical shopping. 

Since mandatory face coverings came into force last month, intu branded centres saw a sharp uplift in footfall of +7% compared with Springboard’s national benchmark of +4.4%.

Whilst not yet back to pre-COVID levels, this steady improvement in footfall demonstrates that some of the best locations are starting early steps to recovery.

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Across intu’s 13 retail destinations, 85% of brands are now open. Anecdotal feedback from retail brands suggests that the people visiting are also spending, with a number of brands recording sales figures that are beating their targets.

There are some regional variations, with Scotland seeing a particularly positive rebound. Footfall at intu Braehead is currently at 92% of 2019’s levels, and intu Watford is at 60% of 2019 footfall levels.

Jim Tucker, joint administrator of intu properties and partner at KPMG, said: “A shopping centre environment, by its nature of being a private space, can be more closely managed and the visitor experience adjusted carefully.

“Safety measures can be put in place to control the number of people in a location at any one time, managing the flow of people ensuring social distancing guidelines can be adhered to, and making sure that face coverings are worn throughout.

“This level of control over a shopping environment creates a place where visitors and brands can interact with some peace of mind, something that cannot always be achieved in an open, unmanaged space.

“And from the data, we can see that that this peace of mind is encouraging more people back, more quickly.”

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