The UK’s high streets benefitted from a 6% boost to retail footfall last week, as the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme drew to a close.
Bank Holiday Monday marked the final day of the dining-for-less scheme, in which Brits were encouraged to take advantage of pubs, cafes and restaurants slashing their prices by up to 50% for the month, in an effort to entice consumers back to the high street after the COVID-19 lockdown.
The August Bank Holiday weekend was a "remarkable success" — retail destinations saw only 11% less footfall compared to last year, retail analysts Springboard said.
Springboard also reported that last week's footfall increased across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, giving them their best week since the end of lockdown.
Shopping centres saw footfall increase by 9.1%, high streets jumped up by 4.8% and retail parks grew by 5%.
While footfall is down more than a quarter (26.1%) year-on-year, this is an increase from the previous week, when it was down 30.7%.
The best way for businesses to sustain this growth is by turning to technology, through which they will be able to “maintain safety and hygiene protocols, as well as offer features that streamline shopping and hospitality experiences safely”, Springboard advised.
These features include aisle sat-nav, till-less checkout, map search, remote ordering, in-app payments and automatic loyalty points.
Will Broome, founder of retail technology app Ubamarket, said: "This growth is fantastic to see, and will undoubtedly give struggling hospitality venues a much-needed boost and bodes well for the future of the sector.
“However, with increased footfall, there are increased safety and hygiene concerns. As such, it is more important than ever that venues implement new approaches and technologies safeguard the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff and also take advantage of the increase in footfall.
“Tech-based solutions will be key in combating the challenges posed by increased safety and hygiene measures, while also helping venues improve the safety and convenience of their customer experience, leading to increased popularity, success and growth beyond the Coronavirus crisis,” he added.