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Industry News

Published on December 9th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Rainy day blues for bricks & mortar stores as shopper numbers fall

A shift in the timing of Black Friday and heavy downpours towards the end of the month led to a fall in the number of shoppers visiting bricks & mortar stores in November.

Footfall declined by 3.4% during the month, with the high street suffering a 4.3% fall and visitor numbers in shopping centres dropping by 3%.     

Figures from Springboard showed that retail parks, while faring better, recorded a decline of 1.8%.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at the data company, said: “Black Friday fell outside of the November trading period, which meant that the month didn’t see the benefit of the 3.3% increase in footfall from Black Friday 2018.

“Footfall dropped by 3.4% in November and this was also partly a result of severe rainfall in the latter half of the month.

“Alerts arriving on a regular basis into consumers’ inboxes in the run up to Black Friday enabled consumers to watch the retail market easily and identify the depth and spread of discounts being offered.

“If they weren’t already planning on doing so, this will have led to many consumers pulling back on trips to destinations causing a spending freeze over the last two weeks of the month in anticipation of big discounts on current stock.”

“Although the impact of Black Friday on the high street is yet to be determined, we continue to see falling number of shoppers venturing to brick and mortar stores, and the latest figures only paint a gloomy picture for retailers,” said Paul Kirkland, Director of Retail and Hospitality at Fujitsu UK.

“With consumers increasingly making their purchases online, rather than in store, retailers must fundamentally shift how they view their high street presence. They need to use their brick and mortar stores as a way to spark meaningful brand engagement, and then funnel shoppers towards their digital channels to translate this engagement into purchases.”

Kirkland added that Fujitsu research found 40% of UK customers feel the high street has been too slow in adopting technologies. This, he maintained, shows “just how much room for growth there is for retailers to take advantage of new digital solutions.”

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