Spring 2021 is likely to be very different from the springs that came before, which is fantastic in comparison to 2020 if not so great when looking further back. As lockdown recedes once more there is the slightest hint of a new dawn, of optimism and opportunity which is so vital to the wellbeing and success of each of us.
Over the last 12 months, we have continued analysing the anonymised data flows across our infrastructure, to understand the impacts of the Pandemic on the Parking Industry. You can read more about this in a recent blog, a key takeaway for us has been seeing the embedded responsible behaviour within the industry that as lockdown periods have come into effect, the volume of enforcement actions decreases to a greater extent than the volume of traffic.
The retail sector has arguably been suffering the most as a result of the pandemic and is a key driver for Parking Activities. This sector, above all others, has experienced a dramatic acceleration of trends already present in the UK prior to the pandemic.
The latest Retail market overview from Property Consultancy Knight Frank considers the latest retail sales figures from the ONS as “The last really dire retail sales figures we are likely to see for some time.” It is a worthwhile read, as much to understand the misrepresented positivity of the media when the inevitable “pre-pandemic levels” rhetoric is pushed. You can read the full piece here.
I think it is fair to say that for us in the Parking Industry 12th April will have brought a huge sigh of relief, finally, retailers and destinations are able to capitalise on the pent up demand amongst shoppers to return to stores. This pent up demand is evidenced by Retail Data company Springboard’s footfall data for the UK which has identified that despite the lockdown with all non-essential stores closed, activity in UK destinations has increased from week to week for the past five weeks. Springboard is forecasting that footfall across the UK will increase by up to +47.9% in the first trading week post 12th April. This will equate to an increase in footfall of +128.5% from the same week in 2020 when we were three weeks into Lockdown 1, but it will still be -61.8% below the 2019 level. Read their full analysis and predictions.
Research by property consultancy CBRE concludes that COVID-19 has savaged an already-weak UK high street suffering from high costs, lack of innovation, and pressure from Europe’s largest online retail market. Although some retail formats have proved resilient (supermarkets, retail parks and warehouses), the sector will now be forced to think very radically indeed about its future. Repositioning of many assets to mixed-use seems likely.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.