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"Lockdown fatigue" cited as UK shopper numbers rose 9% last week

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Shoppers queue to enter a shoe shop at the start of the Boxing Day sales amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of shoppers heading out to retail destinations across Britain rose by 9% last week from the previous week, indicating "lockdown fatigue" for people cooped up at home, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

Footfall across all retail destinations was 65% lower than in the same week last year, Springboard said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England into a new national lockdown on Jan. 4 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the health system.

Under the rules in England, schools are closed to most pupils, people should work from home if possible, and all hospitality and non-essential shops are closed. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have imposed similar measures.

Springboard said that in the week to Jan. 23 footfall was up 10.9% in UK high streets, 9.2% in shopping centres and 4.5% in retail parks compared to the previous week.

"Despite rain and snow last week across much of the UK, footfall rose in retail destinations last week from the week before for the first time in five weeks; perhaps providing the first indications of lockdown fatigue emerging once again," said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.

"The last rise in footfall was in the peak Christmas trading week beginning 13th December, and even then the rise was only a third as large as last week's," she said.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Sarah Young and Keith Weir)