The easing of lockdown restrictions and the successful vaccine rollout has signalled a welcome bounce back for Cardiff, jumping ahead of current UK wide levels, according to Avison Young’s UK Cities Recovery Index.
The Recovery Index for Cardiff has increased to overtake the UK national figure, and now stands at 85.1, compared to 77.6 for the UK as a whole. The Index follows the ongoing impact experienced across sectors due to Covid-19 and monitors the diversity of market activity.
When the easing of lockdown restrictions in Wales on 12th April allowed non-essential shops to reopen, face-to-face teaching resume for all school pupils and travel to and from the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland return, the Recovery Index for Cardiff jumped by 22.5% in the period from mid-April to 3rd May.
However, although the high street like other sectors is showing much needed signs of recovery – the Retail Sector Index for Cardiff now stands at 87.8 as of 3rd May after considerable growth over the past month – the sector still has significant challenges ahead.
Peter Constantine, Managing Director, Avison Young, Cardiff observes, “The high street still faces a battle, and footfall numbers in Cardiff have been slower to recover relative to other UK cities due to the prolonged restrictions on movement and activity in Wales. Since November footfall fell greatly to reach a level not seen since May 2020, but thankfully it has been increasing steadily in 2021 until 12th April, after which it spiked upwards to reach a level of 87.8 on 3rd May, but this is still below the UK figure of 91.3.
“The number of vacant retail units presents a significant challenge and will require both a sustained economic recovery and perhaps a repurposing of the High Street to remedy the position. The sale of the House of Fraser store and the closure of Debenhams are examples of the structural changes the retail sector is experiencing which is not exclusive to Cardiff and represents a national trend.
“We expect, given a green light for indoor hospitality on 17th May, to see the hospitality sector take a much welcome leap forward, having faced drastic challenges. The decision by SA Brain to lease their core pubs to Marston’s is an example of the impact that the pandemic has had on many in the leisure sector.
“The Hotel and Leisure sector index has been hit harder than any other sector during the third lockdown, and it’s encouraging to see a gradual increase since restrictions have eased, with the sector index for Cardiff standing currently at 50.0, compared to a UK figure of 34.0.”