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Springboard: Footfall Down 4.5% In The Run-Up To Christmas

Shopping centre - Shutterstock 237523567 - 725 x 500.jpg

Whilst footfall is rising from week to week in the run up to Christmas, increasing by +3.1% last week from the week before, it is significantly reduced from last year with an annual decline of -4.5%. 

In high streets and shopping centres - which make up the majority of destinations - the drop in footfall was even more severe at -5.2%, with a lesser drop of -2.2% in retail parks.  Footfall was down annually on every day last week apart from Sunday when it rose by a huge +26.3%, however, this was in comparison with Sunday last year when the weather was extremely cold with treacherous travelling conditions.

The results are a continuation of the poor performance in November and in the first two weeks of the month, and are a clear indicator that consumers are railing back on spending.  Whilst some of the trips previously made to bricks and mortar stores are likely to have been diverted online, the vast majority of spending remains in store; and so the significant decline in footfall is clear evidence that spending this year is constrained. 

This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that footfall declined in all areas apart from Northern Ireland,  and was in excess of -2% in every UK geography and more than -5% in five geographies.

Forecast

Springboard is forecasting that footfall will decline by -4.2% in December, a greater drop than the -3.5% drop in December last year.  It is not unexpected for footfall to decline in December, as it has done so in all but one year from 2009.  However, it is anticipated that the drop will increase in magnitude from last year in the light of acknowledged current trading challenges for retailing.

Indeed, the forecast decline in footfall of -4.2% for December follows on from declines in every month this year, with the rate of decline increasing in magnitude in each month since August.  In the first half of December the drop in footfall already reached -4.2%, and footfall is not expected to improve sufficiently in the remaining two weeks in December to reduce the overall decline for the month.

Comment:

Sander Roose, CEO of pricing automation specialist, Omnia Retail, said:

“This is a dangerous time for UK retailers, as lower footfall rates and weaker-than-expected sales can prompt a knee-jerk response to heavily discount products. However, our recent research found that a fifth (19%) of retailers have negatively impacted their business due to an ill-thought-out pricing strategy.

“Crucially, there is a difference between intelligent, strategic discounting, and engaging in a damaging ‘race to the bottom’ on price, which can do retailers more harm than good. 2018’s winners will be those that don’t simply cut prices to attract customers, but price intelligently – both online and off.”  

Source : Springboard

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10 December 2018

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