UK retail footfall declines, retailers hope for last minute shopping surge


According to Springboard, footfall has declined 7.7% compared with last year, and although it rose 13.1% week-on-week, that is much lower than the 22% increase during the same four days in 2015.

However, this year’s results do not include December 23 as they did last year, which is traditionally the busiest day of the festive season.  

Retailers are setting their sights on the Friday 23, hoping that shoppers will rush to stores to buy last minute presents ahead of the big day.

Although Christmas Eve will see the last purchases through the tills, December 24 footfall is traditionally 20% lower compared with December 23, as people use the day for travelling to their Christmas destinations. 

Meanwhile the pace of online spending has slowed with a 30.3% increase year-on-year, compared with a 74.5% rise between 2014 and 2015.

“Footfall results to date show an edge of caution amongst shoppers this Christmas,” said Springboard Insights Director Diane Wehrle. “Shoppers are taking advantage of the two extra trading days this week, using the time to make more considered purchases and as a result, spending has been delayed. The slowdown in online transactions confirms shoppers’ caution and suggests they may be holding out for Boxing Day bargains.”

The footfall drop is consistent with the long-term trend, added Wehrle, however the dampening of online transactions’ growth suggests consumer spend is more widely spread than purely retail.

“The first post-Brexit Christmas will be a learning experience for the retail industry as we observe how shoppers engage with leisure and retail following a tumultuous few months for the economy.”

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