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Festive footfall continues to falter

UK footfall over the festive period continued to drop as shopper numbers fell by 10.5% year on year on New Year’s Eve.

The poor performance follows a 4.5% drop on Boxing Day compared with 2016, and a 2.3% fall year on year between the 27 and 30 December, Springboard reports.

Over the four-day period after Boxing Day, retail parks remained the most resilient with footfall declining by 1.7% compared to drops of 1.9% in high streets and 3.8% in shopping centres.

Footfall recovered on New Year’s Day, rising by 16.8% on 2016 figures. However, Springboard said at least part of this uplift was a result of the fact it fell on a Monday this year.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard: “The drop in footfall on New Year’s Eve was unexpected, and particularly the magnitude of the decline. Last year footfall rose on New Year’s Eve, but this was a response to a significant drop in 2015 which saw severe weather conditions. It was against this backdrop that it was anticipated that footfall would rise modestly.

“Overall, the Christmas and New Year trading period this year has been challenging for bricks-and-mortar stores, with noticeably lower footfall than last year. In part this is a reflection of caution amongst consumers, but is also a function of underlying structural shifts in consumers’ shopping habits due to online activity, and the fact that spending is spread across a wider range of products than ever before, which is increasingly encompassing leisure experiences rather than purely physical goods.”

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