Dec 18, 2018
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Last week before Christmas will bring no store traffic uplift

Dec 18, 2018

We’ve still got some busy days ahead in physical stores and certain must-visit shopping destinations will be buzzing. But the overall picture for the current week at retail is one of declining footfall as shoppers take advantage of late delivery options to order online or simply decide they’ve spent enough already.

This week isn't expected to be a bumper one for Christmas shopping

The decline prediction comes from specialist visitor traffic tracking firm Springboard, which expects overall footfall to drop as much as 3.5% year-on-year in week 51 of the year. Shopping centres will be the biggest sufferers with an expected decline of 4.8%, which is tough on fashion chains as they’re more concentrated in these centres/malls around the UK than in any other location type.

But even the usually buoyant retail parks will be sluggish with a 2.8% drop, while visitor traffic to high streets is expected to decline by as much as 3.2%.

This is all broadly in line with the declines in footfall already seen in December this year but is significantly worse than the 1% drop in footfall in the same week last year.  

But while a new prediction from VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research is calling out this Saturday as the biggest shopping day, Springboard disagrees. Admittedly, the VoucherCodes report combines both physical and online sales, while Springboard is focused purely on bricks and mortar activity.

“We are anticipating that the peak shopping day of the week will be Friday rather than Saturday when footfall will dip slightly,” it said. “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.”

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