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'Christmas on a knife edge' as footfall dips last week

High street footfall dipped in the week beginning December 5, down 2.6% year-on-year.

Across the high street, shopping centres and out of town, footfall dropped back 2.3% year-on-year, research from the British Retail Consortium and retail data specialist Springboard showed.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said the December decline in footfall shows “festive sales are still on a knife edge”.

He added: “The fact Christmas Day falls on a Sunday will mean some shoppers leaving purchases until the final Saturday, but with only one full week of trading to go before the holidays the final result is very much hanging in the balance.”

The fall comes after a dramatic climb in the preceding week, when high street footfall rocketed 15.6% in the week commencing November 28. Footfall across the high street, shopping centres and out-of-town locations was up 15.1% compared to the same week a year earlier, due to a combination of the public sector strikes and the end of the month payday.

The year-on-year growth was helped by soft comparatives, as the same week a year earlier saw much of the country blighted by snow.

Week-on-week, the November figures increased 5.6% across all areas.

“The final week of November was exceptional for footfall,” said . “Many people had just been paid and headed out, a sharp contrast to the same week last year which was blighted by heavy snow.

“The day of industrial action was also used by many, off-work for the day, as an opportunity to hit the shops. In fact, the number of people visiting shopping centres was up by 40% on the day of the strikes compared with the same day last year.

“Retailers are telling us the increased footfall did translate into an increase in sales although some of this was spending brought forward, undermining shopper numbers the following week.”

 

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