Some of Britain’s biggest high street retailers, including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Next, may be forced to reveal a decline in Christmas trading.
According to research from Springboard the high street is facing competition from retail parks and shopping centres, with footfall from Monday 28 December to Friday 1 January having fallen 3% year-on-year. Meanwhile, retail parks enjoyed a 3.6% rise and shopping centres saw footfall increase by 1.8% over the same period.
Retail experts had forecasted a significant turnover on Boxing Day as stores offered discounts greater than 2014’s average of 50% but bad weather and flooding meant that venturing to the high street became problematic for many.
Springboard Research Director Diane Wehrle cited the two biggest factors affecting shopping trends as consumers’ expectations that retailers would begin discounting before Christmas and the rising popularity of online shopping.
“High street footfall has been low this year because of the move to online [shopping]. Retail parks have fared better, partly because they are often a place [where] shoppers can pick up a ‘click-and-collect’ order [placed on the internet].
Building on strong footfall experienced by high streets this time last year was always going to be a challenge, and these figures show there is a job to be done in 2016 in order for a positive uplift to be realised.”