Boxing Day footfall drops for 3rd consecutive year

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Boxing Day footfall has dropped for the third consecutive year across the UK as the lessening importance of the date as a trading day is laid bare.

According to Springboard, average footfall across the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres up to 4pm dropped 3.1 per cent on December 26.

Though the rate of decline eased slightly in comparison to 2017 and 2016, which saw a 3.3 per cent and 5.5 per cent drop respectively, shopper numbers declined across the board.

High streets fared significantly better than out of town retail parks and shopping centres this year, seeing footfall decline of just 1.1 per cent, far better than the 6.6 per cent drop seen last year.

Meanwhile shopping centres saw footfall dip five per cent and out of town retail parks endured a decline of 5.3 per cent.

“Across the UK footfall did vary, with footfall actually rising in a number of areas; Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Greater London,” Springboard said.

“In all other parts of the UK footfall declined from last year, with a particularly large drop in the southeast of minus 12 per cent.”

Despite the wider drop across the UK, the country’s busiest shopping destination in London’s West End experienced a much-needed boost, seeing footfall jump 15 per cent year-on-year.

The New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in and around the Oxford Street area, said discounting of up to 70 per cent by some retailers had driven spending of £50 million.

Its chief executive Jace Tyrrell said: “International tourists are out in force driven by the weaker pound, as well as domestic shoppers who are looking for day out after family celebrations yesterday.

“It has been a competitive and challenging year for UK retail with rising costs and squeezed profit margins. As the largest private sector employer in the country, we need the Government to get beyond Brexit and support Britain’s retail sector in 2019.”

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