Boxing Day retail traffic drops 60 percent amid UK pandemic restrictions

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Boxing Day retail traffic in the U.K. fell by 60 percent compared with last year, Reuters reported, another effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the global economy.

A researcher from Springboard, a retail and foot traffic analysis company released, its findings on Sunday and attributed the sudden drop to the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in the U.K.

Reuters noted that London and large swaths of east and south England are currently under Tier 4 restrictions, meaning all non-essential retail stores are closed.

According to Springboard, foot traffic fell as much as 76 percent in Tier 4 areas of the country. However, even areas with more lenient restrictions saw rather large decreases in traffic, the company noted.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed Tier 4 restrictions, the harshest the country has seen yet, just before the Christmas holiday, tossing out previous plans to lessen the restrictions and allow families to gather.

“Residents in those areas must stay at home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law. Nonessential retail, indoor gyms and leisure facilities and personal care services must close. People must work from home if they can but may travel to work if this is not possible,” Johnson said when announcing the heightened restrictions.

Areas under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions saw their foot traffic fall by more than 30 percent, Springboard reported, despite being allowed to keep nonessential shops open. Areas under such tiers are required to place restrictions on hospitality venues, Reuters reported.

In the U.S., holiday shopping was similarly impacted, with surveyed shoppers reporting they would be spending less money and less time in retail stores this year, citing the pandemic as a reason. However, online shopping has increased significantly this year, breaking records in terms of revenue and online attendance.

The U.K. is currently battling not only a surge in coronavirus cases but also a new strain that has caused countries to ban or limit travel to and from the U.K. The new strain is more contagious, according to recent studies, though it carries the same degree of symptom severity as other COVID-19 strains.

Tags Coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic holiday shopping retail U.K.

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