Retailers struggle over festive season as footfall freezes up

The overall Christmas and New Year trading period has been challenging for bricks and mortar stores, experts reveal.

According the latest data from retail experts Springboard, footfall during the festive trading season was noticeably lower than last year.

Footfall declined by 3.3% in December up to Christmas Day, with Boxing Day taking a 4.5% hit as consumers opted to shop online.

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pringboard revealed this is the most challenging Boxing Day bricks and mortar retailers have seen since it first published Boxing Day activity in 2012.

During the festive period, high streets and shopping centres suffered more than retail parks, but all posted a dip in footfall.

Footfall then continued to drop significantly, with an unexpected 10.5% year-on-year dip seen on New Year’s Eve. This poor performance follows drops post Boxing Day, with a decline in footfall of 2.3% over the period from December 27 to December 30. Over this four day period post Boxing Day, retail parks remained the most resilient with footfall declining by -1.7% against drops of -1.9% in high streets and -3.8% in shopping centres.

Footfall recovered on New Year’s Day, rising by +16.8% from New Year’s Day last year; however, at least part of this uplift will have been due to the fact that it fell on Monday this year. And despite this noticeable uplift in footfall from last year, Springboard says the rise of +16.8% is not as great as the drop of -23.8% on New Year’s Day last year resulting in an overall drop of -7% over the two year period as a whole.

Springboard insight director, Diana Wehrle, comments: “Overall the Christmas & New Year trading period this year has been challenging for bricks and mortar stores, with noticeably lower footfall than last year. In part this is a reflection of caution amongst consumers, but is also a function of underlying structural shifts in consumers’ shopping habits due to online activity, and the fact that spending is spread across a wider range of products than ever before which is increasingly encompassing leisure experiences rather than purely physical goods.”

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