UK's state-funded dining scheme boosts number of shoppers by 3.8%
The number of shoppers across all British retail destinations rose 3.8 percent last week from the previous week with the start of a state-funded eating out scheme that offers 50 percent off the bill for eat-in food and drink.
The $653 million "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme allows each person to take up to 10 pounds off their bills on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in August.
Between Monday and Wednesday, during the scheme, the number of shoppers rose by 18.9 percent.
The pandemic-triggered lockdown hit UK's retail and hospitality sectors hard, resulting in thousands of job losses.
The government hopes the subsidy, along with value-added tax cuts for the hospitality sector, would reduce job losses at restaurants and cafes, which employ 1.8 million people.
While UK's retail sales, excluding fuel, went back to last year's levels in June, the recovery was due to a boom in online shopping and increased spending at supermarkets.
There were still fewer people eating at restaurants and cafes.
According to Diane Wehrle, director of market researcher Springboard, the post 6 pm period yielded the highest rise in footfall with smaller towns benefitting more than large cities.
Springboard said that footfall across all UK retail destinations remained more than a third lower than in 2019.