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Footfall up as retailers discount ahead of Christmas

Latest UK footfall figures in the run-up to Christmas have shown that in the week beginning 4 December the number of people out shopping was 10.8% higher than in the previous week and up 0.9% on the equivalent week of 2011.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Footfall up as retailers discount ahead of Christmas

Latest UK footfall figures in the run-up to Christmas have shown that in the week beginning 4 December the number of people out shopping was 10.8% higher than in the previous week and up 0.9% on the equivalent week of 2011.

According to Ipsos’ Retail Traffic Index released by Ipsos Retail Performance, footfall levels for the week were strongest in the Midlands, where the number of stores entered by shoppers was up by 12.8% week-on-week and 4.8% year-on-year.

“Christmas shopping stepped up a couple of gears last week,” explained Dr Tim Denison, director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “Three weeks out, the average rate of growth is 6% week-on-week, so a double digit rise is considerably stronger than in recent years.

“The early surge suggests that shoppers don’t want to be caught on the back foot this year, either by weather conditions preventing them getting to the stores or by stock-outs of popular lines. The seasonal launch of new electronic products, such as the Wii U console, will also have been a contributing factor.”

Ipsos said that the strong result for the week helps close the gap on last year’s numbers for the month to date. The 6.7% deficit for week commencing 25 November has now narrowed to -2.9% over the fortnight, 0.9% ahead of Ipsos’ projection at this stage for the month.

Dennison added: “If shoppers carry on in this fashion, December may be better than we had expected. Many retailers have decided to discount early this year and shoppers have responded. This is a different pattern of behaviour to recent years and it will be fascinating to see if the footfall growth is sustained over the next fortnight.”    

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