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Insight: changing shopper behaviour impacts December footfall

New figures have shown that retail footfall fell by 3.5% year-on-year in December with all regions included in the analysis showing a decline.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Insight: changing shopper behaviour impacts December footfall

The data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard reveals that this was the biggest drop since March 2013 when footfall fell by 5.2%.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “This is a significant weakening in performance from December 2016 when footfall in retail destinations dropped by just 0.2%, and it is the worst result for any month since March 2013.

“But it was high streets and shopping centres that struggled in attracting customers, whilst strengthening in retail parks, from -0.7% last December to -0.6% this year. The resilience of retail parks reflects the rise in online activity in December, which drives click and collect trips, and the better trading performance of food stores versus non-food retailers.”

The sharpest reductions were seen in Scotland, the South West and Greater London where footfall was down by 4.7%, 5.2% and 3.7% respectively.

Meanwhile, the east saw an end to its twelve-month run of positive growth with a decline of 2.6%.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive,added: “The sharp drop in footfall this December, while sales grew overall, underlines how shopping is being transformed by the shift to online.

“The squeeze on discretionary spending also contributed to the decline in footfall. Households had to use their money more carefully, researching products online, rather than heading out to stores to browse.”

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