High street footfall statistics, just released by by retail analysts Springboard, show a 17.4% drop from pre-COVID figures.

While there is evidence that office-workers and international tourists are begining to return to our city centres, the key takeaway is that our high streets will not return to previous highs without radical transformation.

Springboard said that high street footfall would have declined by four per cent from 2019, even without the pandemic.

Insolvency practtioner Simon Renshaw comments: “The continuing decline of retail footfall in the UK points to a cultural shift that began long before COVID-19. The closures of well known stores like Debenham and Top Shop demonstrate how British shoppers are evolving. Our High Streets of the future will likely emphasise experiential activities as well as smaller ‘plug and play’ stores where online retailers can showcase particular goods which people will then buy online. We’ll see more residential blocks, of course, as well as more socially conscious businesses.

In time, these vital communal areas of our towns and cities will find their identities again. But while the process is unfolding we’ll see more empty lots and big brand insolvencies. It continues to be a very challenging environment for retail.”