UK shoppers finally found their feet last week, according to the latest data monitoring shopper numbers across the country - with Friday (23 December) now set to be the busiest trading day before Christmas this year.

Figures just released by Synovate Retail Performance show UK footfall levels for the third week of December (the week commencing 11 December) were higher than the same week last year. Its Retail Traffic Index shows the number of shoppers entering non-food stores were 0.5% higher than last December and were up 9.0% on the week before.
 
"After a setback second week in December, last week was considerably busier in the shops," says Dr Tim Denison, director at Synovate Retail Performance. "For the month to date, shopper numbers are marginally ahead of our forecast, which predicts that footfall for the month will be 1.3% higher than December 2010. 

The comparison week last year, however, was weakened by snowfall, which decimated shopping on the final Saturday before Christmas.

"The next fortnight's trading will make or break the year for many retailers," Denison adds. "It is a difficult one to call, but if the month to date is anything to go on, footfall should remain solid.

"Some commentators had expected last Saturday to be the busiest trading day before Christmas this year, but if this year sticks to trend, we anticipate that Friday 23rd will be even busier.

"The good things in life are worth waiting for and retailers will be hoping that this week will see shopper numbers grow daily, hitting their peak right at the death, as shoppers search for last minute bargains."