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BRC: November footfall down by 2.9%

Footfall in November was 2.9% lower than a year ago, unchanged from October's rate and marginally below the three-month average of -2.7%. High streets reported the greatest fall, down 4.2% and on a three-month basis reported their worst drop in footfall since August 2012. Footfall in out-of-town locations and shopping centres fell 2.1% and 1.0% respectively. All regions reported a decline in footfall. The East (-0.5%), North & Yorkshire (-1.8%) and Greater London (-2.7%) were the only regions to report footfall above the UK average.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: "This figure is in line with October, and tallies with recent signs in our sales data that festive spending has got off to a slow but steady start. While some areas saw an improvement in footfall compared against the previous month, numbers were negative across the board, strengthening the sense that many of us were holding off on major shopping trips until December ushered in the final countdown to Christmas.

"Shopping centres performed the strongest of the three channels, suggesting that many people opted to condense their trips where possible so that they could cover off their Christmas lists under one roof. High streets fared less well, but were up against a comparatively strong rate in 2012.

"These figures may seem subdued, but factors like enhanced multichannel offers and Christmas day falling on Wednesday this year are changing customer habits and giving people the confidence to leave much of their spending until later. Clearly there's still all to play for: footfall has been building since the end of November and I expect this to continue now that we're less than a fortnight away from the big day."

Diane Wehrle, Retail Insights Director at Springboard, said: "The 2.9 per cent drop in footfall in November is disappointing and suggests that Christmas trading could be challenging if December 2012 is anything to go by when a 0.4 per cent increase in November 2012 preceded a drop in footfall of 1.2 per cent. And the last time footfall dropped by a similar magnitude in the build up to Christmas (2.8 per cent in November 2010), it was then followed by a decline in footfall of 8.8 per cent in December due to major snowfall. And it doesn't appear that there is any one particular region in the UK that performed well in November, with all regions recording a decline in footfall over the year.

"However, there were differences between types of location, with shopping centres recovering slightly in November from earlier in the year, to the detriment of high streets, with a drop in footfall of 1.0 per cent compared with 4.2 per cent in high streets and 2.1 per cent out-of-town. The similarity to November 2010 is visible here too, as footfall in high streets dropped by 4.0 per cent three years ago compared with a modest drop of just 0.2 per cent in shopping centres and 2.7 per cent out-of-town." - See more at:

Source : Helen Dickinson - BRC Director General

16 December 2013
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