Gridlocked roads, halted trains and treacherous pavements have significantly affected retail business, as snow blankets large parts of the UK.
Property company CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has estimated that retail footfall has declined by around ten per cent year-on-year across the country, as people have preferred keeping warm to spending money.
Southern counties along with large parts of the Scotland and the north-east of England have experienced heavy snowfall over the last week, as daytime temperatures have fallen to around -8 degrees C.
Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy at CBRE, said: “With national retail footfall down by over ten per cent compared to this time last year due to the deep freeze we are currently experiencing, retailers are having to work even harder to entice shoppers out of their homes and into the high street during this critical Christmas shopping period.
“This picture is even worse at a regional level, with the number of shoppers in Yorkshire & Humberside down by 24 per cent, Scotland by 14 per cent and the north-east by 13 per cent.”
Disrupted trade caused by adverse weather conditions was one of the reasons JJB Sports used yesterday, for it announcing that it would likely breach the terms of its revolving credit facility in the next few months.
Recent impressive sales growth at John Lewis department stores is likely to have been halted this week (with official figures published next Friday) according to weekly sales results published yesterday.
Nat Wakely, Director of Selling Operations for John Lewis, commented: “The snow has impacted both footfall and sales in shops where the weather has been particularly poor, however there has been some compensation in our multichannel proposition with johnlewis.com up 62.2 per cent week to date as customers unable to travel opt to shop online.”
Online is almost certain to have seen an uplift across the sector due to the blistery conditions and shopping centres are another area which may have been aided by the cold.
De Mello added: “It has never been a better time to be an owner of a covered, heated shopping centre - with footfall in major regional shopping centres like Bluewater and Westfield London, no doubt benefiting from the impact the freezing temperatures and snow is having on our high streets.”