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High street footfall rises but big cities struggle as homeworking continues

New data from the Centre for Cites’ Street Recovery Tracker, in partnership with Nationwide Building Society, reveals that while footfall in many of the UK’s town and city centres recovered to pre-lockdown levels this summer, the share of people returning to the workplace has not increased since late June, despite the Government’s campaign to get people back into offices.

According to mobile phone tracking data, despite the continued reluctance of people to return to their places of work, overall town and city centre footfall increased by seven-percentage points to 63% of pre-lockdown levels since the beginning of August.

In 14 of the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, city centre footfall in August exceeded pre-lockdown levels. Seaside towns such as Blackpool, Bournemouth and Southend and smaller cities such as Birkenhead and Chatham proved particularly popular with visitors.

However, overall footfall in larger cities remains well below the national average. In Central London footfall is still at just 31% of pre-lockdown levels, in Manchester it is 49% and in Birmingham it is 52%.

The data also shows that weekday worker footfall in the centres of the UK’s largest cities and towns remains at just 17% of pre-lockdown levels on average – exactly the same as it was at the end of June.

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