Footfall remained buoyant in August, but the boost is likely to be short lived in anticipation of austerity, reports Springboard's latest footfall monitor.

"UK footfall in August, at -13.2% below 2019, was better than anticipated given the recent rise in inflation and the impending impact on households of the increase in energy costs, so it seems that the headlines around the increasing cost of living are not yet deterring people from spending," says Springboard's marketing and insights director, Diane Wehrle.

"Indeed, the continuous heat in August clearly encouraged people to take staycations, which fuelled activity in retail destinations. Also, many consumers took a much longed-for and deferred summer holiday during August - many of which will have been paid for last year or even the year before - driving pre-holiday spending, and creating what might be seen as the 'last hurrah' before the rise in the energy price cap kicks in during October.

"The rise in temperatures to record levels during the middle of the month only had a localised and short-lived impact on footfall. It meant that footfall weakened from the week before in the second and third weeks driven by some shoppers avoiding high streets – the WoW change in high street footfall in the middle of the month averaged -3.8%, versus an average increase of +2.6% in the first and last weeks. In contrast, in shopping centres which benefit from controlled temperatures, footfall only declined WoW by an average of -0.9% during the extreme heat in the middle of the month, and rose WoW over the first and fourth weeks by +0.5%.

"Looking forward to September, we are expecting the traditional dip in footfall from August as schools go back, which has occurred every year since Springboard started publishing its footfall data in 2009. The magnitude of the dip from August to September in 2019 was -3.3%, and as the euphoria of a hot and sunny summer ends and the anticipation of austerity awaits, we anticipate that the drop in footfall from August to September this year will be at least equal or even greater than this."