First trading weekend of 2017 delivers nationwide decline in footfall, Springboard shows

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The first trading weekend of 2017 has delivered a nationwide decline in footfall, as poor weather, an early December spending spree and Bank Holiday trading hours deterred shopping from stepping outdoors on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve proved to be the stronger pull for shoppers, with high streets experiencing an improvement on last year, with footfall down only -2.4% YOY, compared with -5.1% YOY on 31 December 2015.

High streets did experience an uplift on New Year’s Eve, however, with Brits turning out to celebrate the New Year driving a +4.7% YOY uplift in footfall, benefiting restaurant, bars and leisure outlets.

Whilst New Year’s Day 2016 was a promising start for retailers, the same cannot be said for 1 January 2017 with a -23.8% YOY average decline in footfall across the UK. Shopping Centres fared the worst with a steep decline of -49.5% YOY, compared to an increase on +9.8% experienced on 1 January 2016.

Out of town retailers also felt the ‘cold snap’ in footfall, with a decline of -19.1% YOY, with high streets also witnessing a drop of -12.7% YOY. Unsurprisingly given the poor weather and sales proving to not be as compelling to draw shoppers outdoors, online sales over the weekend rose by +6.8%  YOY, with a +18.2% YOY uplift on 31 December 2016.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director says: “Retailers traditionally see the first trading weekend of the New Year as a sign of things to come, and if this still rings true the industry is set for a rocky 2017. The ease and comfort of online shopping proved too enticing for shoppers keen to snap up further discounts in the sales rather than bracing the cold outdoors. Shopping Centres in particular have a challenge ahead in 2017. Having experienced a decline in footfall during 2016, these destinations need to up their game in order to provide additional reasons to draw shoppers away from their devices with an offer going beyond retail.”