Footfall figures show that shopper numbers continued to improve for the fifth successive month in October, according to Ipsos Retail Performance which collects data from over 600 towns and cities across the UK.

The data showed that average weekly footfall for the UK was 3.2% higher in October than in September.

These figures are 39.6% lower than in September last year and 38.8% lower than in October 2019.

The year-on-year gap is reducing despite the imposition of the firebreak in Wales on 23rd October and the local lockdowns elsewhere in parts of England and Scotland.

Shopper numbers across non-food stores in the UK rose against September’s in the regions most affected by the restrictions.

Northern England saw a rise of 2.1% in this sector, and in the Midlands by 6.9% on the previous month.

“The re-closure of non-essential stores taking place in England from 5 November is totally understandable and correct in terms of trying to contain the virus, but it is the last thing that retailers need, especially when people’s confidence to shop in the high street has steadily recovered over the past five months,” said Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance.

“Even if stores are allowed to re-open in December, social distancing and safety measures will prevent stores from being able to serve the usual crowds seen at this time of year,” added Denison.