Footfall plunges as lockdown continues – NIRC Sensormatic IQ monitor shows
The latest NIRC Sensormatic IQ data for 31 January to 27 February shows a further dramatic drop in footfall.
Using ShopperTrak – now part of Sensormatic Solutions, Sensormatic IQ is its new intelligent operating platform, which unifies diverse data and insights to drive improved shopper experiences and retail outcomes.
According to NIRC-Sensormatic IQ data shows that year on year Northern Ireland footfall decreased by 65.6% in February, a 0.8 percentage point increase from January. This is above the UK average decline of 73.5%.
Northern Ireland saw the shallowest decline in footfall again in February out of all UK regions. However, excluding last month, its performance was the worst since May 2020, when footfall declined by 77.2%.
Year on year footfall in Belfast decreased by 67.7% in February, a 7.0 percentage point worsening from January.
Shopping Centre footfall declined by 77.2% in February in Northern Ireland, up from -79.0% in January.
Weekly footfall for the four weeks in February was broadly within the same range, with a slightly shallower decline during the second week of the month.
“It was another desperately depressing month for the retail industry as the majority of stores stayed shut and footfall again was lower by over 65% across all locations and over 75% down in shopping centres. Northern Ireland performed better than Wales or Scotland but it is still scant comfort to retailers who continue to have on-going costs while little to no income.
“The pathway laid out by the NI Executive is progress but without dates, it is hard to see if the light we see is the light at the end of the tunnel or a train hurtling towards us. We recognise retail has and will continue to have a part to play in the response to the pandemic. The retail industry has invested well over £20 million pounds to make stores safe and take our responsibilities seriously. However, It is vital that there is clarity about the criteria for reopening and to ensure that affected businesses continue to be supported in the coming weeks.
“And with click and collect for some essential retail opening on 8 March, we also need shoppers to continue to act responsibly. Wear a face covering in store and when queueing, keep your distance, wash your hands, leave extra time for shopping and most of all be kind to staff and other shoppers. If we are to continue down the pathway of reopening our economy, we all must play our part.”
Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “With lockdown fatigue looming large, February saw another month of limited footfall on the High Street, as non-essential retail remained closed and stores shuttered. February did see a small lift in shopper counts compared to January, perhaps due to the ongoing success of the vaccine roll-out and the roadmap for unlocking announced earlier in the month giving consumer confidence a boost.
“However, while there is light at the end of tunnel, the outlook between now and when non-essential retail can reopen, remains bleak. Many retailers will be holding out hope that, once again, consumers will return when they reopen and that pent-up demand for real life retail experiences will sustain the High Street’s recovery.”
MONTHLY TOTAL NORTHERN IRELAND RETAIL FOOTFALL (% CHANGE YOY)