By Marc Jones
LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Shopper numbers across all UK retail destinations rose by 4.1% last week as near 7% jumps in London and the south east led a significant acceleration in activity, researcher Springboard said on Monday.
Springboard said the UK-wide number compared to a 0.8% increase the previous week and a 1.8% rise in the same week last year.
Despite the improvement, however, footfall was still 30.7% lower than in the same week last year, though that was an improvement from an annual drop of 32.5% in the week before.
Big city centres are still baring the brunt of the crisis, with shoppers and workers failing to return after the lockdown eased and shops reopened.
In Central London shopper numbers remain 61.2% lower than last year and in regional cities it is 49.8% lower, Springboard estimated.
In contrast, shopper numbers in smaller, more local high streets or holiday towns have recovered to a far greater extent; in Outer London the drop in footfall from last year is now -29.5%, in coastal towns it is -28.7%, in historic towns -34.1% and in so-called market towns -28.3%.
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, said the incremental recovery offered "a glimmer of hope for retailers".
She said it also seemed that increased quarantine measures on a number of overseas holiday destinations had also lifted UK footfall.
Shopping centres had been the clear winner with a week on week increase of 7.1% versus 3.2% in high streets and 2.7% in retail parks.
(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Michael Holden and Kate Holton)
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