Flagship shopping centres in the United Kingdom will take a long time to attract the same number of consumers back with many shunning the locations to avoid potentially crowded areas and unnecessary travel, according to data analytics company GlobalData. Despite landlords implementing measures to reassure shoppers, footfall is unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels before the end of the year.

“…Many shoppers will feel that closed, restricted, or open but potentially unsafe amenities do not warrant them visiting these destinations and will choose to shop online or at closer locations such as town centres and retail parks instead,” said Sofie Willmott, lead analyst at GlobalData, in a press release.

Stores that many retailers could rely on before COVID-19 to bring in decent revenue will this year struggle to justify their rent costs and as a result there are likely to be ongoing negotiations between retailers and landlords.

Many shopping centre owners have already seen the value of their assets plummet and their locations, which this time last year would have had a more positive outlook than many other retail locations, now look to be in trouble, said Global Data.

“The impact of COVID-19 will hurt all retail locations with offline non-food spend set to plummet 29.5 per cent (£41 billion) in 2020. Shops that are easier to access by car or foot such as retail parks and town centres will appeal more to cautious shoppers, shifting visiting and spending habits in a different direction to what we have seen in recent years,” Willmott added.