Shoppers find their feet and provide hope for the final run-in to Christmas
Figures released by Synovate Retail Performance today show that UK footfall levels for the third week of December (w/c 11th December) were higher than the same week of 2010.
According to Synovate’s Retail Traffic Index, the number of shoppers entering non-food stores for the week rose by 0.5% on the w/c 12th December 2010 and by 9.0% on the previous week (w/c 4th December 2011).
“After a setback second week in December, last week was considerably busier in the shops,” remarks Dr Tim Denison, Director at Synovate Retail Performance. “For the month to date, shopper numbers are marginally ahead of our forecast, which predicts that footfall for the month will be 1.3% higher than December 2010. The fact that shoppers found their feet last week will be welcome news, but we should be mindful that the comparison week last year was weakened by snowfall decimating shopping on the 18th – the final Saturday before Christmas.”
Around the country, the week’s figures varied considerably against the same week of 2010, skewed by where the snow fell heaviest last year. In London and the South East, which was struck particularly badly by the wintry weather in 2010, year-on-year footfall for the week was up 16.9% this year. Week-on-week growth was strongest in Scotland and Northern Ireland (+13.8%), after the gales of the previous week and weakest in Wales and South West England (+4.1%).
“We are now embarked on the final run-in to Christmas; the key period of the month is upon us,” concludes Denison. “The next fortnight’s trading will make or break the year for many retailers. It is a difficult one to call, but if the month to date is anything to go on, footfall should remain solid. Some commentators had expected last Saturday to be the busiest trading day before Christmas this year, but if this year sticks to trend, we anticipate that Friday 23rd will be even busier. The good things in life are worth waiting for and retailers will be hoping that this week will see shopper numbers grow daily, hitting their peak right at the death, as shoppers search for last minute bargains.”
Synovate is scheduled to release its next set of RTI figures on Sunday 25th December, Christmas Day, to expose whether the final full trading week proved to be the busiest in the run up to Christmas.
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