Footfall dipped by 0.1% last week, compared with the same period in 2017, as Storm Deirdre brought heavy rain on Saturday.
For the week commencing 9 December 2018, high street footfall increased by 0.4%, and retail parks by 0.7%. However, footfall to shopping centres was down 1.8%, according to research firm Springboard.
Springboard pointed out that while the slight dip in shopper numbers appeared to be fairly positive news for retail, which has experienced steeper falls in recent weeks and months, “looks can be deceiving”.
”At first sight a very marginal drop in footfall of just 0.1% last week appears to be good news for retail destinations in what is coming up to the peak of the Christmas trading period,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard.
”However, it is critical to remember that this result is off the back of huge drops in footfall in the same week last year when snow and ice swept the UK on Sunday shutting roads and transport hubs, creating difficulties until late in the week. By late in the week, however, circumstances last year returned to normal and in comparison, this footfall dropped on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this year.”
She continued: ”Footfall was particularly weak on Saturday this year due to the onset of Storm Deirdre, which brought driving rain to most of the country and snow in some parts. On Sunday footfall did partially recover, although still recording a decline in shopping centres.”
Springboard predicted a 3.5% decline in footfall for the current week, compared with last year.
”We are anticipating that the peak shopping day of the week will be Friday rather than Saturday when footfall will dip slightly,” said Wehrle.
”This is a pattern that Springboard has recorded over a number of years when Christmas day is in the first half of the week as it is this year; consumers generally use the weekend as part of the Christmas break, for travelling and for visiting family and friends.”