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Footfall plummets in first weekend of 2017

Footfall fell by 16.1% year on year across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks over the new year weekend, figures from retail data provider Springboard have shown.

Shopper numbers were down by 12.7% on 1 January on UK high streets compared with the same day in 2016, while shopping centres faced a 49.5% decline.

New Year’s Eve proved to be a stronger pull for shoppers: high streets showed an improvement on last year, as footfall dropped 2.4%, compared with 5.1% on 31 December 2015.

High streets experienced an uplift of 4.7% on New Year’s Eve, although the Springboard figures suggest this mainly benefited restaurants, bars and leisure outlets.

“Retailers traditionally see the first trading weekend of the new year as a sign of things to come and, if this still rings true, the industry is set for a rocky 2017,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard. “The ease and comfort of online shopping proved too enticing for shoppers keen to snap up further discounts in the sales rather than bracing the cold outdoors.

“Shopping centres in particular have a challenge ahead in 2017. Having experienced a decline in footfall during 2016, these destinations need to up their game to provide additional reasons to draw shoppers away from their devices with an offer that goes beyond retail.”


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