UK: Retail footfall seen building despite November decline
Despite a drop in November footfall at UK retailers there is "still all to play for" in the lead-up to Christmas, as many consumers held off major shopping trips until December.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC)/Springboard footfall monitor showed shopper numbers declined 2.9% year-on-year in November - unchanged from October's rate and marginally below the three-month average of a 2.7% drop.
High streets reported the greatest fall, down 4.2% and on a three-month basis reported their worst drop in footfall since August 2012.
Footfall in out-of-town locations and shopping centres fell 2.1% and 1% respectively, with the latter suggesting many people wanted to condense their trips by shopping under one roof. All regions reported a decline in footfall.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "This figure is in line with October, and tallies with recent signs in our sales data that festive spending has got off to a slow but steady start.
"While some areas saw an improvement in footfall compared against the previous month, numbers were negative across the board, strengthening the sense that many of us were holding off on major shopping trips until December ushered in the final countdown to Christmas."
Although these figures may seem subdued, Dickinson said enhanced multichannel offers and Christmas day falling on Wednesday this year are changing customer habits and giving them the confidence to leave a lot of their spending until later.
"Clearly there's still all to play for: footfall has been building since the end of November and I expect this to continue now that we're less than a fortnight away from the big day," she added.
While Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, described the drop as "disappointing" and suggests "trading could be challenging if December 2012 is anything to go by", when a 0.4 rise in November preceded a drop in footfall of 1.2%.
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