Shoppers cross Oxford StreetLondon

UK shopper numbers down 6% last week as city centres avoided

LONDON (Reuters) -Shoppers across Britain fell 6% in the week to Jan. 8 versus the previous week as working from home directives to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus continued to dent footfall in large city centres, researcher Springboard said on Monday.

It said footfall last week was 21.8% lower than the same week in 2019, before the pandemic impacted traffic.

Springboard said the week-on-week decline in footfall was driven by a drop of 10.9% in high streets and 4.4% in shopping centres. It rose 2.9% in retail parks.

“With employees continuing to work from home the drop in footfall in Central London and in other city centres around the UK was far greater than in more local high streets,” said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Toby Chopra)