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Economic News

Wet weather keeps shoppers home in usually-busy December

By Josh White

Date: Friday 05 Jan 2024

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - British shoppers headed out more reluctantly during the usually busy holiday period, according to fresh data released on Friday morning, with retail footfall seeing a notable decline.
According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ, total UK footfall saw a 5% year-on-year decrease from 26 November to 30 December - a marked decline from November's -0.7% year-on-year change.

High street footfall saw a 4.2% decrease in December compared to the same month the prior year, with November reporting a more modest -1.7% change.

Retail parks saw a 4.8% decrease in footfall in December, a significant drop compared to the -1.0% change recorded in November.

However, shopping centres were hit the hardest with a substantial 7.4% decline in footfall in December, marking a notable drop from November's -2.2% change.

"December's heavy rain left many shoppers reluctant to brave the elements, who instead opted to browse online before making final purchases, or shop online altogether," said British Retail Consortium chief executive officer Helen Dickinson.

"This led to a substantial decline in footfall levels compared to December 2022, when there was significant pent-up demand for in-store shopping post-Covid restrictions.

"Some cities, such as Edinburgh, bucked the trend, and saw footfall levels rise in December thanks to recent investment in new, exciting shopping destinations."

Looking at footfall across the UK nations, Scotland showed the most minor year-on-year decrease, recording a decline of 2.2%.

Northern Ireland followed with a drop in footfall of 4.7%, while England and Wales saw a 5.8% decline.

"With a general election on the cards later this year, we are calling for the political parties to set out a clear and cohesive plan for retail in their manifestos," Helen Dickinson added.

"This plan must take account of the regulatory cost burden and broken business rates system which are limiting business investment and growth.

"Ways also need to be found to create thriving shopping destinations and drive customer footfall back up again in 2024."

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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