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UK shopper numbers jump 88% as stores reopen after lockdown

FILE PHOTO: File photo of shoppers crossing the road in Oxford Street, in London

LONDON (Reuters) – The number of people heading to shops across Britain jumped 87.8% last week as non-essential stores reopened after three months of COVID-19 lockdown, researcher Springboard said on Monday.

The surge in the week to April 17 from the previous seven days was roughly double Springboard’s forecast, the company’s insights director, Diane Wehrle, said.

Shopper numbers rose 93.2% on high streets, 126.6% in shopping centres and 35.3% in retail parks, the data showed.

“These results provide concrete evidence of the desire of shoppers to return to bricks and mortar stores,” Wehrle said.

The number of shoppers, or the footfall, across all UK retail destinations was still 25.4% lower than the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, Springboard said.

Non-essential stores in England and Wales were allowed to reopen on Monday April 12.

Springboard said it was expecting a further boost to numbers from the reopening of indoor hospitality in England, scheduled for May 17.

The pandemic has hammered Britain’s retail sector, leaving gaping holes on the main shopping streets and costing tens of thousands of jobs.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Andrew Heavens)

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