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Footfall for week 51 fails to top 2013

A weekly increase in footfall of 7.9% across all location types for the seven days to December 20 was not enough to boost annual figures, with the latest data showing a drop of 3.5% against 2013.

All three location categories improved significantly on week 50. The high street climbed 7.1%, retail parks slightly more at 8.1% and shopping centres saw the biggest jump, up 9.6%.

High streets experienced the biggest gap in results geographically week on week. Ireland was up 30.5%, while Greater London lagged behind with just 3% growth.

Despite the overall increases, all location types were down against the same period last year. Although the sector enjoyed the largest upswing, shopping centres dropped 5% year on year, more than high streets, down 3.3% and retail parks, down 2.4%.

High-street stores in the West Midlands suffered most with an 8.8% slowdown in shopper traffic, narrowly ahead of the high street in the north and Yorkshire, down 7% against 2013, and shopping centres in the east Midlands, down 6.8%.

Springboard retail insights director Diane Wehrle said: “With 79% of shoppers looking for discount purchases, according to a Springboard survey of store managers, and the majority of retailers on Sales, it is not surprising that footfall has risen by 7.9% against last week. Retail Park traffic has fallen by –2.4%, only the ninth week of the year where the format has seen an annual decline. The location type declined in the same week last year by –2.5% (following a 5.1% rise in 2012) as the final Christmas rush pushes shoppers to multiple retailer formats. The South East has managed to buck the trend with an overall rise of 1.7% despite a fall of –1.4% in shopping centres. Shopping centres overall saw the greatest decline falling –5.0%.”

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