As fears for public health grow, UK retail footfall took a hit of -12.7% YoY on the day that new coronavirus cases exceeded 100 for the first time, reports Ipsos Retail Performance.

The first weekend of the month (Sunday 1st March) did see a slight increase of +0.2% YoY, which could have been symptomatic of shoppers stockpiling household goods in particular.

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, comments: “It isn’t a surprise that footfall has taken a big hit since the outbreak of coronavirus really ramped up a notch last week. Shoppers will likely be wary of stepping into stores knowing that they might be exposed to a harmful virus – a sharp decline of -12.7% YoY shows how habits are shifting. We are almost at the same level of decline in footfall from the outbreak that we saw last month when the storms caused such disruption.

“My advice to shoppers would be to continue practising vigilant personal hygiene in everyday life as recommended by the NHS. Stockpiling will put unnecessary strain on retailers, so if shoppers refrain from panic buying, then I think we will all be in a better place. It will be interesting to see how the retail landscape progresses as the pandemic continues, and we can hope for the retailer’s sake that the future starts to look brighter very quickly.”