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Industry News

Published on December 10th, 2018 | by The GC Team

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Black Friday delivers “no tangible benefit” to bricks & mortar stores

Any optimism that Black Friday would drive footfall for physical stores was dashed today as new figures revealed a fall in all types of shopping destination.

According to data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard, shopper numbers dropped by 3.2% in November, the twelfth consecutive month of decline.

Footfall was down 3.8% in high streets and shopping centres, while visits to retail parks fell by 1.4%.

Springboard said the overall decline was the biggest drop recorded for November since it began publishing its footfall data in 2009. Marketing & Insights Director Diane Wehrle said the 3.2% fall was “indisputable evidence” that Black Friday delivers no tangible benefit to bricks & mortar stores.

The figures also showed that footfall declined by 5.5% in the week of Black Friday, more than in any week of the month.

“With one in every three pounds of non-food purchases made online last month, Black Friday accelerated the movement from in-store to online in the lead up to Christmas,” commented Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Chief Executive.

Looking at the shape of things to come, Springboard’s Wehrle said: “Whilst footfall is rising from week to week in the run up to Christmas, increasing by 3.1% last week from the week before, it is significantly reduced from last year, with an annual decline of 4.5%.”

Jat Sahi, Digital Lead Retail, EMEIA at Fujitsu, said more needs to be done to help retailers create the right shopping experience for their customers, and to entice them not only online but through the door as well.

“If they don’t do this soon,” he commented, “they are likely to be heading for a future where they are competing head-to-head with hundreds of online retailers versus a past where they competed with a few other stores nearby.

“With many retailers hoping Black Friday would drive a surge in shoppers, we saw high volumes of shoppers turn to online and avoid the pandemonium that we saw in stores a few years ago.  

“However, the growth in the popularity of online shopping shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to the high street; it should be seen as an opportunity for bricks and mortar retailers to reinvent themselves.  

“Retailers cannot be reliant on peak days to help drive their overall sales. They need a strategy in place to provide an experience that embraces retail’s digital future and enables customers to shop the way they wish in this new digital age.”

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