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UK shopper numbers fall again as COVID-19 restrictions tighten

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past bordered up retail stores, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Croydon, south London, Britain, September 27, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Shopper numbers at British retail destinations have fallen for a fourth straight week following tougher government measures to stem a second wave of COVID-19, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a tiered system of restrictions on parts of England, including shutting pubs in the worst affected areas, to curb an acceleration in infections.

Springboard said total shopper numbers, or footfall, fell 3.1% in the week to Oct. 17 versus the previous week. It was down 2.8% on high streets, down 3% in retail parks and down 3.5% in shopping centres.

“The additional COVID tiered restrictions had an immediate impact on footfall in retail destinations last week with an across the board week on week decline,” said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.

Footfall in the north of England and Yorkshire region fell 5%, reflecting the tighter restrictions there.

The year-on-year decline in UK shopper numbers worsened to 32.3%.

About six million people in the United Kingdom face tougher COVID-19 curbs in the coming days as Wales and Manchester, the country’s third largest city, mull additional restrictions.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Michael Holden and Mark Potter

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