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NI retail: 80% drop in footfall 'of an unprecedented magnitude'

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The retail sector here has suffered its greatest drop in footfall

The retail sector here has suffered its greatest drop in footfall

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The retail sector here has suffered its greatest drop in footfall

The retail sector here has suffered its greatest drop in footfall but there is an indication smaller high streets are likely to recover first.

Springboard said overall footfall in all shopping landscapes here plummeted by 80.3% compared to last year during April.

It said the decline was "of an unprecedented magnitude".

It added that larger city centres suffered worse across the UK, with a drop of 89.7% as consumers stuck to their more local shopping areas.

In Northern Ireland, shopping centres fared worse, enduring a drop of 83.7%. The high street saw its footfall decrease by 79.2% while retail parks weathered the storm relatively better with a drop of 68.1%.

The report said that lockdown has marked a notable shift in shopping patterns, seeing the smaller towns and villages benefit from people shopping more locally.

"Footfall shifted away from large towns and cities to smaller, more local centres," it said.

"The 20 high streets in the UK with the most modest drops in footfall (each less than -60%) are small centres."

And Springboard said it believes the path for recovery may be led by smaller high streets "which can offer safety and community benefits".

It said shopping environments where capacity allowed for safe social distancing, such as shopping centres and retail parks, will be better able to control shopper numbers and may recover more quickly that denser high streets.