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UK shopper numbers rise for sixth straight week as Britons tire of lockdown

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UK shopper numbers rise for sixth straight week as Britons tire of lockdown 1

LONDON (Reuters) – The number of people heading out to shops across Britain climbed 11% last week from a week earlier, in a sixth week of gains despite a national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

Shopper numbers, or footfall, in the week to Feb. 27 climbed 15.9% in high streets, 6% in shopping centres and 5.9% in retail parks, it said.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insights director, said the data suggested evidence of “lockdown fatigue” amongst consumers.

“Perhaps prompted by the announcement of the government’s roadmap to reopening at the beginning of the week, but then supported by drier warmer weather in the second half of the week, footfall in UK retail destinations rose once again last week from the week before,” she said.

“Not only was this the sixth consecutive week that footfall has increased, but its magnitude was greater than in any previous week and nearly twice that in the week before.”

The gap in footfall in retail destinations from 2020 narrowed to down 56.5%, from down 62.1% a week earlier.

England entered a third national lockdown on Jan. 4 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatened to overwhelm parts of the health system.

The rules in England mean 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 imposed similar measures.

Essential shops allowed to stay open include food outlets and home improvement retailers.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a roadmap out of lockdown that will see non-essential shops in England open again on April 12.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Bernadette Baum)

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