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Boxing Day set to boost the high street

Super Saturday’ could be biggest shopping day of the year

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Boxing Day set to boost the high street

Super Saturday’ could be biggest shopping day of the year

Disappointing retail sales figures, lower than average footfall traffic and recent bad weather in the run up to Christmas all emphasise why Boxing Day trading is going to be even more critical this year, according to Experian.

Jonathan de Mello, Director of Retail and Property at Experian comments: “Boxing Day 2009 will be an absolutely crucial day for retailers, as this year it falls on a Saturday. Most retailers make around 25 per cent of their weekly revenues on a Saturday, and given Boxing Day is now a major shopping day in its own right, it is conceivable that Boxing Day 2009 could be ‘Super Saturday’ - the biggest shopping day of the year so far - rivalling even 23 and 24 December.”

Over recent years Boxing Day has become increasingly important for retailers, with footfall on 26 December 2008 12.5 per cent up on the previous year. Whilst driven by the deep discounts retailers were offering at that time - with 70 per cent, 80 per cent and even 90 per cent discounts available in some stores - last year's record footfall levels on Boxing Day illustrate a growing readiness on the part of the UK consumer to shop on what traditionally used to be a day of rest.

However, those retailers wanting to encourage consumers to spend in the hope that Boxing Day will compensate for slow sales to date, need to prepare and think carefully about their offline and online strategies.

Jonathan de Mello adds: “The UK shopper has become increasingly bargain conscious and last year retailers were discounting heavily - well before Christmas - in order to drive shoppers into their stores. This deep discounting hit retailer margins hard and, combined with mandatory quarterly advance rental payments and the depreciation of sterling, sent many retailers into administration last year, or forced them to take on even more debt. But there are strategies that retailers can adopt to ensure they maximise their margins over the festive period.”

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