The Top 10 Rising and Lagging Cities After Reopening on April 12th

To mark the re-opening of non-essential retail last week, Huq has used insights from Community Vision, it’s high-street measurement tool for local Councils, to chart the recovery of the top and bottom towns and cities across England and Wales. The data measures both pedestrian footfall and in-store visits to non-essential outlets across 10,000+ high-streets between Monday 5th and Saturday 17th April, aggregated to the city level.

Chelmsford in Essex has topped the list for footfall growth since non-essential retail’s reopening, with an increase of 71.9% over the first week. However, while Chelmsford has been busy in terms of footfall, Exeter has in fact seen the greatest rise in non-essential store visits, with levels almost tripling in the week (up 227.3%) – albeit from a small base.

Data from Community Vision has also revealed the ten towns and cities that are lagging in both footfall and recovery. Peterborough saw an increase of just 3.9% in footfall in the week since April 12th, while Southend-on-Sea saw store visits rise by only 5.3%.

Interestingly, Birkenhead near Liverpool features as the tenth highest riser for footfall but yet also appears as the fifth most lagging town for in-store visits. This contrast suggests lower levels of discretionary economic activity in spite of larger crowds.

Top 10 Towns & Cities for Increased Footfall

Chelmsford 71.90%
Bracknell 70.40%
Crawley 58.80%
Maidstone 58.20%
Basildon 49.20%
Solihull 48.30%
Bath 47.20%
Carlisle 46.70%
Southampton 46.40%
Birkenhead 46.10%

Top 10 Towns & Cities for Non-essential Retail

Exeter 227.30%
Ipswich 183.30%
Nottingham 170.60%
Bournemouth 170.60%
Cambridge 150.90%
Manchester 137%
Liverpool 133.30%
Bristol 123.40%
Leeds 122.70%
Norwich 116.60%

The 5 Most Lagging Towns & Cities for Footfall

Peterborough 3.90%
Slough 6.60%
Harlow 7.30%
Nuneaton 7.70%
Milton Keynes 11.50%

The 5 Most Lagging Towns & Cities for Non-essential Retail

Southend-on-Sea 5.30%
Burton upon Trent 6.60%
Derby 7.10%
Milton Keynes 10%
Birkenhead 12.50%

Community Vision is a platform that provides high-street usage insights to public health, town centre managers and economic development officers in local government across the UK. The product offers accurate footfall measurement data for the council area on a daily basis. It also provides breakdown of how that footfall is distributed across the area. Click here to discover more!


Huq Industries publishes high-frequency economic data across a range of themes derived from its first-party geo-mobility data. Our first-party, verified and compliant data supports a broad range of applications in financial services, real-estate, and public sector and CPG. Whichever research themes you are following, Huq offers a fast and reliable means to measure business and societal trends with confidence.