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Footfall has plummeted since the imposition of the new lockdown in England and is down by 75% on a year ago, according to figures highlighting the dramatic impact of the tough new restrictions on retailers.

Data compiled by the British Retail Consortium and ShopperTrak, and seen by the Guardian, underlined how a burst of consumer activity before the lockdown came to an abrupt halt when non-essential retailers were forced to close their doors.

Footfall was down by more than 70% year on year in each of the four days since the restrictions were imposed, culminating in an annual drop of 78% on Sunday.

The picture for retailers was only slightly brighter than during the spring lockdown, when footfall was down by 82%.

Kyle Monk, the director of insight at the BRC, said: “Footfall has plummeted since the second lockdown took effect. Retailers who have been forced to close will be counting the cost of each passing day, which is why it is vital they are able to reopen from 2 December. Furthermore, the government must provide necessary support to affected businesses throughout the coming months.”

Footfall was already down by about a third year on year in late October but the BRC data revealed a mass exodus from high streets and shopping centres from 5 November onwards.

Retail parks, which contain a higher proportion of supermarkets and also tend to benefit from click and collect, fared better but still recorded a footfall drop of more than 50% on Sunday.

Andy Sumpter, a retail consultant at ShopperTrak, said: “Sunday to Wednesday saw a significant uptick in footfall, as many shoppers rushed in store to pick up essentials and fast-forwarded Christmas shopping.

“Retail parks outperformed other retail settings, rising to +8.6% – the first time since the initial lockdown that any retail setting has gone into positive performance – but this was followed by the inevitable, as footfall levels fell off a cliff edge once again as the nation locked down.”

The dramatic drop in footfall during the new lockdown brought to an end the steady improvement in trading performance by retailers since the first wave of Covid-19, according to the regular BRC monthly health check of the sector.

The BRC reported annual sales growth of almost 5% in October but said the tough restrictions imposed at the start of November would cost businesses £2bn a week during the crucial pre-Christmas trading period.

The BRC said part of the year-on-year growth in spending in October was the result of consumers stockpiling and stressed that retail was “teetering on a cliff edge”.

Official figures have shown that retail sales in September were above their pre-crisis level, and the BRC’s research showed October was another month of strong growth.

The tightening of restrictions across the UK during October and speculation towards the end of the month about an England-wide lockdown boosted digital shopping and sales of food and home comforts. More than two-fifths of non-food sales (42.3%) were online, compared with 31.7% in October 2019.

By contrast, non-food stores in shopping centres, retail parks and high streets reported double-digit falls in annual sales due to more office workers going back to homeworking. In the three months to October, in-store sales of non-food goods were 11.4% lower than in the same period of 2019.

A separate report from Barclaycard painted a more downbeat picture for October, as the credit card company reported a 0.1% annual drop in consumer spending in October, as the introduction of further restrictions and the arrival of colder weather encouraged Britons to stay at home and turn to online shopping.

Barclaycard said the tougher restrictions were having an impact on consumer confidence, with optimism dropping back to levels last seen in May, when the economy was starting to open up.

Despite the slight dip in overall sales in October, Barclaycard said spending at food and drink specialist stores, including butchers and greengrocers, rose 50.7% year on year last month.

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