Retail footfall down 0.2% in December
New figures have shown that retail footfall in December was 0.2% lower than the same period a year earlier as many shoppers opted to shop online rather than visit stores.
According to data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, the drop marks the fourth consecutive month of decline but is a much shallower fall than the 2.2% drop in December 2015.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: “The final result of a drop in footfall of just -0.2% in December compared with -2.2% in December 2015 was more positive than the results for key trading days over Christmas led us to believe it would be.
“The month began just after Black Friday, which is now generating a similar level of in-store spend to Boxing Day, and so is clearly bringing forward shopping that in the past took place during December. This together with the fact that Christmas Day fell at the end of the fourth trading week meant that shoppers deferred purchases in order to snap up any additional discounts –demonstrated by the fact that footfall remained virtually flat until the third week of the month."
Looking at the various retail locations, high streets were the only places to see a rise in footfall in December with a year-on-year uplift of 0.8%. Footfall in retail parks fell by 0.7% while footfall in shopping centres dropped for the eleventh consecutive month, down 1.9% year-on-year.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Overall, December saw a continuation of the downward trend in footfall, with shopper numbers falling 0.2% over the previous year. It was a more positive story for the high street, which saw a modest bounceback with positive growth for the first time in December since 2011, after managing to draw in last minute shoppers.
“Solid festive sales did not translate into a lift in footfall above last year as online continues to grab the lion’s share of growth. Ecommerce accounted for nearly a quarter of all purchases in December, suggesting that more shoppers than ever opted to go online rather than hit the shops."
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