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Industry News December footfall reflects changing shopping habits

Published on February 1st, 2018 | by The GC Team

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Footfall nosedives as Black Friday takes the shine off January sales

Figures released today confirm a slow start to the retail year, causing speculation that the shadow of Black Friday is still looming over the high street.   

Ipsos Retail Performance, the global retail and footfall consultant which measures footfall in the non-food store sector, said shopper numbers fell by 6.6% in January compared to the same month last year, and by 27.1% on December 2017.

Stores in South East England and London were the worst hit, with footfall down almost 12% compared to last January. In Northern England and Scotland, heavy snowfall caused footfall to slump in the second half of the month. 

This is the ninth consecutive month that store footfall has declined compared to the previous year in the UK.

Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos, said: “At the start of the new year there is always much speculation and anticipation about how busy shops will be. This year was no exception, thanks to fears that Black Friday promotions could impact on the winter Sales, not just pull forward demand from the festive period.

“Retailers reported mixed results on Christmas trading 2017. Whilst fashion brands Primark, Hugo Boss and more recently Joules, have posted positive results, M&S, Tesco and B&Q have all started the year with announcements of job cuts. Sales of high-ticket items have also struggled, strengthening the concern that shoppers would begin the year cautiously.

“It’s been well documented that market conditions were exceptionally tough last year, and understandably the British public are remaining watchful as we start 2018. This is building an imperative for retailers to review their business models to operate differently in order to survive.”

Denison added that Brexit and GDPR add a new frisson to the mix. “Hence,” he said, “announcements about changes at the top of retail businesses, re-shuffles within, CVA rumours, store closure programmes or headcount shrinkage permeate the daily news – all geared at introducing new thinking and tighter cost-control to combat weaker demand.”  

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