No last minute rush in UK stores on Christmas Eve
It looks like the expected last minute Christmas shopping burst may have failed to materialise in the UK on December 24 as anecdotal evidence showed suburban shops were quiet and data showed footfall down to major shopping destinations.
Data from retail footfall specialist Springboard showed Saturday was a slower Christmas Eve for retailers following Friday, the peak trading day of Christmas week.
After daily increases during last week, UK footfall to noon Saturday was 3.8% down compared with Christmas Eve last year and 5.5% down compared with the previous day. But while footfall for December 23 was up 2%, compared with Thursday, it was down 4%, year on year.
On bright spot was the fact that footfall in out of town destinations continued to rise on Saturday tracking up 3% compared to Friday, thought to be driven by click and collect trips. Yet again, this was less the good news it seemed as compared to last year out of town footfall significantly decreased 4.6%. This reflected the overall weaker footfall that has been recorded over the year.
The drop in footfall of 2.5% in shopping centres was more severe than the 1.6% drop on the same day in 2015, reflecting their overall worsening performance this year.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard Insights Director said: “[Saturday’s] half-day results magnify footfall trends we have recorded over the year – a decline in footfall across all retail destinations, but a modest bounce back in the high street.
“Despite declining footfall [on Saturday], the -3.8% drop is less severe than last year at -4.6% on 2014. Encouragingly, the drop in high street footfall has halved this Christmas Eve at -4.2% compared with -8.6% last year.
“Friday’s year-on-year footfall decline of -4% is more severe than 2015 at -1.5%. This is likely to be a result of the 23rd falling on a Friday, as many people may have left earlier to travel home for Christmas compared to last year.
“We expect Boxing Day to remain key for retailers, generating an equivalent value of in-store sales to Black Friday. Traditionally, we have seen the equivalent volume of footfall on Boxing Day to Good Friday, and over half of all footfall on Boxing Day occurs between 11am and 4pm.”
By Sandra Halliday
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