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The BRC-Shoppertrak footfall montitor improved 19.3pp to -46.1% in December as restrictions eased in England after November's lockdown, data released Friday showed. Footfall in retail parks fell by 17.3%, recording the shallowest decline, while high street footfall dropped by 49.5%, the worst performing location for a fifth consecutive month. Shopping centre footfall declined by 47.3% in December. The report noted that the pre-Christmas "golden quarter" recorded a drop of 48.4% in footfall compared to 2019. Over 2020 as a whole, footfall fell by 43.4%.

"December was a month of two halves, however – before footfall fell away as UK consumers faced the prospect of tougher restrictions, there was an initial recovery in retail footfall in the first two weeks of December, with shopper counts boosted by pent-up demand from November's lockdown and shoppers' get-ahead gift buying. While this soon plummeted in the second half of the month, it at least served to save some valuable Christmas trade." said Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant – EMEA at ShopperTrak.

"Now that all parts of the UK are effectively in lockdown and with social distancing measures expected to continue well into the New Year, 'non-essential' stores will be unable to trade their way back to recovery. A third lockdown will be one too many for some businesses," added Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of British Retail Consortium.