As workers return to to the office, they also return to city centre shops

The return of the workplace commute helped to deliver individuals again to excessive streets and city centres final month, however shopper numbers stay stubbornly under pre-pandemic ranges, new figures present.

The variety of individuals going to retailers was up 10.4 per cent final month, in contrast with February final yr, however is 8.8 per cent down on 2019 ranges, in line with the most recent BRC-Sensormatic IQmonitor.

The restoration was sharpest in conventional excessive streets and procuring centres, up by 17.8 per cent and 11.7 per cent, respectively, and pushed by the return of commuters to workplaces.

This was balanced by a decline in using out-of-town retail parks. Seen as safer options to busy excessive streets through the pandemic, they skilled a 3.3 per cent decline in numbers final month.

Chilly climate, the excessive value of residing and a looming rise in family vitality payments contributed to conserving customers away.

Helen Dickinson, chief govt of the British Retail Consortium, mentioned: “Development in footfall slowed this month after the frenzy of Christmas procuring and January gross sales. Some individuals are making fewer visits as the price of residing continues to bear down forward of the April vitality value rise.” She mentioned retailers have been investing of their “retailer expertise” however client confidence was weak and it was “very important” that the federal government didn’t burden the retail trade with additional regulatory prices that hinder funding.

Richard Lim, a retail analyst, mentioned the info confirmed staff have been being “inspired to get again into the workplace at the least two or 3 times every week”.

A central London “again to the workplace” benchmark by Springboard discovered final month that footfall exercise at workplace hotspots had risen as staff returned to workplaces.

UK client confidence rebounded in February to its highest stage in nearly a yr, though GfK, the analysis group, mentioned it was “nonetheless severely depressed”.

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