Super Saturday footfall disappoints: “discounting a real issue”

While retailers held out for a so-called “Super Saturday” to bring a last-minute boost to Christmas sales, the latest footfall figures found shoppers kept off the high street.

Springboard reported just a one per cent year-on-year rise in high street footfall for Saturday December 22, which was predicted to be a “Super Saturday” in the lead up to Christmas.

Although footfall did rise 6.9 per cent week-on-week for day, overall footfall has declined by 0.7 per cent compared to last year.

Retail parks experienced the worst year-on-year decline, down 3.2 per cent.

Shopping centre footfall on Saturday was down 1.7 per cent compared with the same day last year, but up 6.2 per cent compared with Friday.

“It was a bit of a last-minute burst, but it’s not good,” Springboard insight director Diane Wehrle said.

“The discounting is a real issue. People are buying less and what they’re buying is at a lower price, so this is bad for retailers as they’re left with more stock and they’re selling it at a lower profit.”

Springboard found that footfall has been falling the last Saturday before Christmas every year for the last decade, as consumers avoid shops when they do not have money to spend.

“In the past year, wages didn’t increase with price rises,” Wehrle said.

“Now that has changed a bit, wage inflation is above price inflation, but the problem is consumers have had to spend a year funding that through savings, wages, loans or credit cards, so now they’re conscious they don’t want to spend too much as they have to pay back some of those loans.”

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