People 'flooding back' to Luton's shops, pubs and cafes - according to Google data

People in Luton flocked back to shops, pubs and cafes last weekend as lockdown restrictions eased in England, Google data shows.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:29 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:32 pm
Google data suggests shoppers are flooding back to Luton town centre

Location data from Google reveals that non-essential retail and leisure were much busier on Saturday April 17, than the previous Saturday.

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in their daily lives.

The figures show average activity in Luton s hospitality venues and non-essential shops was just 16% lower on Saturday, April 17, than pre-pandemic levels.

The data corresponds with research from Ispos Retail Recovery index, which has named Luton among the top ten 'bounce back' towns in the UK for high street performance.

Across the UK, visits to shops and food establishments were 37% lower than before the pandemic on Saturday, April 17.

The British Retail Consortium said it hopes that with Covid-19 cases dropping, shoppers will feel more confident heading out.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “While footfall at shopping destinations was significantly up in the first week of reopening, compared to the week prior, it still remains below pre-pandemic levels.

"Monday was by far the best day for retailers in England and Wales, as the novelty of shopping at non-essential stores helped footfall to its highest levels in months."

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England are currently only allowed to seat customers outdoors, meaning that re-opening is still unviable for many businesses until May 17.