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Footfall figures fear

Last-minute uplift hope after snowy weather impacted Christmas shopping


RETAIL intelligence experts Springboard forecast that footfall figures will decline on Christmas Eve, despite the annual man-dash which is predicted to offer a two per cent uplift year on year in shopping centres.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “Given the prevailing economic conditions which have put pressure on spending, and the fact that the weekend offers consumers an opportunity to travel to their Christmas destinations over the weekend, we are forecasting that footfall overall will decline on both December 23 and Christmas Eve.”
However, in light of the downturn last week, Springboard forecast a last-minute uplift of 7.8 per cent across the UK up to today (Friday, December 22) as many shoppers may have left their Christmas shopping until the last minute.
In line with the prevailing trend for experience and leisure trips, Springboard forecast the greatest increase will be in High Streets which benefit from the greatest diversity in hospitality outlets as consumers seek to combine shopping with visits to coffee shops/restaurants.
Forecasts for tomorrow, December 23 – the day that generates the largest footfall volumes in the year – and Christmas Eve on Sunday are for a 2.9 per cent drop in footfall. This ties in with the trend in the week of December 10 across UK retail destinations, where there was a 2.6 per cent decline, significantly greater than the 2.5% decrease in the same week last year.
This marked decline in footfall last week is in part a consequence of the snow that impacted on much of the country last week and the Springboard report said: “Indeed, this will have accounted for some of the 33.2 per cent rise in online transactions (source PCA Predict).
“And it’s likely that click and collect trips will have helped insulate retail parks from as deep a drop in footfall as High Streets or shopping centres with a 3.6 per cent decline in footfall compared with the 10.1 per cent drop in high streets and 5.8 per cent in shopping centres.
“Overlaying the inclement weather are budgetary constraints impacting consumers, which will inevitably lead to shoppers holding out on purchasing to take advantage of even deeper discounts pre-Christmas and which is evident in a drop in footfall of 1.2% week-on-week compared with a 5.6 per cent over the same week last year.”
Springboard added that UK High Streets took the impact of the weather with numbers falling 3.7 per cent week on week while footfall rose by 2.9 per cent in shopping centres as these locations are largely protected from the elements.

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