UK shopper numbers creep up as 'lockdown fatigue' sets in

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Members of the public walk past a new coronavirus mass vaccination centre at Stratford shopping centre in east London. Photo: Hollie Adams/AFP/Getty
Members of the public walk past a new coronavirus mass vaccination centre at Stratford shopping centre in east London. Photo: Hollie Adams/AFP/Getty

UK shopper numbers across retail destinations crept up 9% in the week ending 23 January, versus the previous week.

Market research company Springboard said on Monday that the rise was the first seen in five weeks and could be an indication of people feeling “lockdown fatigue.”

Still, footfall had declined more than half from the same week the previous year, coming in at 65.3% lower, the monitor said.

The data comes as the UK grapples with a variant of the COVID-19 which has been statistically shown to be more deadly to certain age groups.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said this morning that the UK was looking at tightening Britain’s border controls as anxiety ramps up about mutations of the virus.

He told reporters: “We have to realise there is at least the theoretical risk of a new variant that is a vaccine-busting variant coming in - we’ve got to be able to keep that under control.”

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It also comes following calls for mask compliance from major supermarkets and “essential” retailers that have been allowed to stay open despite lockdowns.

In recent weeks many grocery chains said that mask compliance had slipped and called on the government to take action. This also came after data from the track and trace service showed that supermarkets were the most common place people said they had been before reporting a positive COVID-19 test.

At the time, Morrisons’ (MRW.L) CEO David Potts said that those who fail to wear a face covering, and are not medically exempt, won’t be allowed in the shop.

Following this, Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) also said it would challenge non-mask wearers or those shopping in groups. It said it would put trained security guards at the front of the shop to challenge non-compliance.

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