COVID-19: Which regions saw footfall return closest to pre-pandemic levels as lockdowns eased?

Shoppers have been flocking back to high streets and other retail destinations in some parts of the country more than others as lockdown rules were eased in England and Wales.

Across the UK, footfall climbed by 155.2% compared to the previous week though – partly blamed on wintry weather – the numbers were still 15.9% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to data from Springboard.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at the firm, said: "The first day of retail reopening was an amazingly positive result and one which finally offers retailers some positive news.

"The strong uplift highlights that consumer demand is higher than even forecasted and shows that bricks and mortar still holds a key position within the retail sector."

Retailers are desperate to see a recovery in trade after the sector shed 67,000 jobs last year and lockdowns cost £27bn in lost sales, according to industry estimates.

Scenes of shoppers queuing outside stores will have gladdened those hoping for a bounce-back in trade, yet none of the regions of the country were able to recover to 2019 levels.

Yet some came closer than others. Here is a list of those regions from those that came closest to pre-COVID levels to those that remained well below them.

North & Yorkshire -0.8%

East of England -4.6%

East Midlands -7.5%

South East -8.0%

South West -8.5%

West Midlands -9.3%

Wales -19.2%

Greater London -21.2%

Non-essential retailers remain closed in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland -47.7%

Northern Ireland -48%

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