New figures: London and South East miss out on January footfall growth
Figures from Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index, which monitors the number of shoppers entering over 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK, show that traffic increased by 1.9% in January compared to the same month last year.
This almost matched the 2% gain seen in January 2015 and was also the first year-on-year rise since last July. As expected, footfall was down against December with weekly traffic dropping by 35.1% after the Christmas rush.
Each region in the UK experienced footfall growth in the first week of January due to the busy post-Christmas sales period. Store traffic was 5.9% higher than the same week last year.
However, stores in South East England and London saw a 2.7% decline on last year. In London, this was the sixth consecutive month where year-on-year store footfall fell. Ipsos said the continuing decline could be a result popularity of online and mobile shopping in the city which now accounts for more than a quarter of the UK’s online retail traffic.
Dr Tim Denison, director at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “It is great to see the year start brightly after December’s disappointing footfall figures.
“January’s footfall is largely shaped by the length of time that the post-Christmas sales remain efficacious. This year, the 6.4% uplift in the final week of 2015 was almost matched in the first week of the New Year when year-on-year growth reached 5.9%.
“Returns and exchanges made before the expiry of gift receipt deadlines definitely boosted footfall that week but the ongoing sales also continued to draw shoppers into the stores.
“The remainder of the month was noticeably quieter, but the general economic conditions that underlie shopping behaviour remain strong so we are expecting year-on-year growth in footfall to continue into February.
“Strong footfall early in the year and the concomitant sales it brings will be welcomed by retailers, given the additional cost burden created by the living wage legislation in April.”
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