The new UK climate retains purchaser numbers low

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing protective face covering walks past a sales sign in a shop window following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manchester, UK

LONDON (Reuters) – Shopper numbers in all UK retail destinations rose 0.8% for the week ending August 15 from the previous week, with extremely hot weather partly responsible for the muted increase, researcher Springboard told Monday.

In the previous week, the number of buyers rose by 3.8%. Traffic was boosted by the start of a government-funded restaurant that aims to boost British spending again.

The country's retailers, already grappling with high rents, corporate taxes, tight margins and online competition, have been hit by the coronavirus lockdown. Thousands of job losses have already been announced.

According to Springboard, traffic on UK's main roads was down 0.5% over the past week. However, it rose 1.9% in retail parks and 2.4% in shopping centers. The former was outdoors and easily accessible, and the latter benefited from air conditioning.

"The first week of the midsummer vacation was spectacularly hot weather, but largely poor performance," said Diane Wehrle, director of Springboard.

"Customer activity in UK retail destinations increased slightly from the previous week, but the increase was less than a third of the increase seen the previous week."

Year-over-year, the total number of visitors to all destinations in the UK had decreased by 32.5% in the past week, the researcher added.

Polls released last week showed that consumer spending remains well below normal levels.

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