Retailers suffer continued footfall declines post-Christmas, Springboard reports

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In a disappointing couple of weeks for UK retail, footfall has continued to decline in the lead up to the New Year. The drop of -5.8% for Monday to Wednesday of this week compared to the same days last year is worrying retailers as they begin to look to 2017 and how they will face the impact of low footfall in the industry’s biggest seasonal sales period.

Over the past three days, footfall fell across all three destination types, but shopping centres performed best – carried by an uplift of 15.5% on Wednesday alone following the severe drop of -20.7% on Monday and -5% on Tuesday. The popularity of click and collect purchases could have contributed to the strong uplift following Boxing Day purchases online.

The largest drop across destinations was on Monday, which was Boxing Day this year when footfall declined by -7.3% from Boxing Day last year.

Retail footfall analysts Springboard anticipate footfall will continue to decline over the remainder of the working week due to the continued rise of online transactions, up +5.7 for the week to date.

Furthermore, New Year falls over a weekend, with New Year’s Eve on Saturday and New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday compared to a Thursday and Friday last year. Consequently, we expect footfall to drop on New Year’s Day due to Sunday’s fewer trading hours compared with Friday 1 January 2016.

This year’s New Year Bank Holiday may also influence shoppers to defer their leisure outings from the weekend to Monday, so we expect footfall to decline by -20% to -25% on New Year’s Day last year.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director says: “The continued decline in footfall is in line with the long term trend we have been recording alongside the growth of online channels. As an industry, we are learning how to best trade in a modern environment to co-exist with online, whilst celebrating British retail destinations that bring us leisure experiences the virtual world doesn’t offer. 

“This festive season – the first post-Brexit – has been an experience for the industry learning how to best operate in a changed economic environment. The impact of declining footfall on retail sales is yet to be measured, but will without doubt help equip retailers with the insight needed to operate in 2017 with confidence.”

% Change in Footfall
  Mon 26th Dec 2016 vs Mon 28th Dec 2015 Tues 27th Dec 2016 vs Tues 29th Dec 2015 Wed 28th Dec 2016 vs Wed 30th Dec 2015 Mon 26th to Wed 28th Dec 2016 vs Mon 28th to Wed 30th Dec 2015-24 hours
High Streets -10.5% -10.8% 2.7% -5.7%
Out of town -14.6% -10.4% -0.1% -8.4%
Shopping Centres -20.7% -5.0% 15.5% -3.9%
UK All Destinations -14.1% -9.2% 5.5% -5.8%