December shopper numbers down overall
Retail Traffic Index figures show 2.7 per cent fall
January 3 2003
The Retail Traffic Index figures for December show a year-on-year fall in UK shopper numbers of 2.7 per cent.
The figures from SPSL show brisk trading in the last six days of 2002, with traffic up 2 per cent. SPSL said this suggests a tactical decision by consumers to wait for discounts rather than a serious demise in consumer confidence.
Dr. Tim Denison, director of knowledge management at SPSL, said: “Shoppers were slower to get into festive mood this Christmas and inevitably this had a detrimental impact on the month overall. We anticipated the slow start would lead to a last minute rush, but in truth it didn’t materialise to the extent we had forecast.
“Traffic levels over the last 4 day run up to Christmas this year were busier by 0.5 per cent compared to 2001. The real damage, though, was done in the two middle weeks of December, where traffic was down 3.6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively on the same period in 2001, and this was simply too much to pull back.”
In London and the South East, shopper numbers were down 6.4 per cent year-on-year. Dr Dension said: “Concerns over terrorist attacks appear to have played their part in discouraging people to travel to the capital during December. It is too early to say whether there are more telling economic factors making a regional impact here such as the reported lower house price inflation and the introduction and raising of local taxes, such as congestion charges in central London and council taxes.”
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