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.