Northern Ireland suffered the worst drop in shopper numbers over the Christmas trading period out of all regions in the UK, according to new figures released today.
Footfall was 8.7% lower than a year ago, down on the 6.3% decline in November 2013, a report by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium shows.
This compares to a 3.8% drop in footfall recorded in Wales and a 3.4% decline in shopper numbers in the South West over the same period. All other regions recorded figures above the UK average of -2.4%.
Northern Ireland Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly said: “Although disposable incomes are feeling the squeeze across the UK, budgets in Northern Ireland are under the greatest pressure, and there are weighty tasks in the year ahead to build and maintain confidence among customers and retailers.”
Springboard director of retail insights Diane Wehrle explained the new figures: "Northern Ireland had a more challenging time in December than in the UK as a whole. No doubt this was partly a consequence of the adverse weather, however, it was exacerbated by the combination of the emphasis by retailers to drive online sales, and the discounting introduced by retailers early on in the month. This meant that shoppers delayed visits to retail destinations until as late as possible which adversely affected footfall early in on the month.”