UK retailers are holding their breath for shoppers to make a last dash to the stores on today and tomorrow to help boost performance ahead of post-Christmas sales.
Data from retail footfall measurement firm Springboard has shown that footfall has declined by 7.7 per cent for the week to date, with extra trading days ahead of Christmas this year cited as the main reason as shoppers deferred their present-buying to the last possible moments.
Springboard also said the week-on-week increase of 13.1 per cent is lower than the 22 per cent increase of the same period in 2015.
Retailers are using today to drive shoppers to retail destinations and although Christmas Eve will see the last purchases through the tills, Springboard said footfall is traditionally 20 per cent lower compared with December 23, as people use the day for travelling to their Christmas destinations.
Despite reports of online spending continuing to rise, the pace of its increase was dramatically slower this year – 30.3 per cent compared with the 74.5 per cent year-on-year growth between 2014 and 2015.
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Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said that given the growth of online, a drop in footfall was not surprising – a drop in footfall was not surprising and is “consistent with the long-term trend”.
“Shoppers are taking advantage of the two extra trading days this week, using the time to make more considered purchases and as a result, spending has been delayed,” she said.
“The slow in online transactions confirms shoppers’ caution and suggests they may be holding out for Boxing Day bargains.
“We anticipate this week’s footfall to… reach its peak on Friday 23rd December. Given the week’s performance is already tracking at -7.7 per cent on 2015, overall it is likely to be lower than last year.
“A drop in footfall is not surprising… However, the dampening of online transactions’ growth suggests consumer spend is more widely spread than purely retail, reflecting the broadening of our choices and the growth of the hospitality sector.
The news comes as demand for turkeys, Brussels sprouts and mince pies are expected to soar today as part of “Frenzied Friday” as shoppers but their groceries for Christmas.