Retailers hoping for a super Sunday after soggy Saturday

Christmas shopping should be fun

Christmas shopping should be fun - Credit: Archant

After a soggy start to the weekend retailers are hoping shoppers will venture out in greater numbers today after a slump in footfall on Saturday.

Glass everywhere in the shopping arcade in Norwich - Shop windows. doors, lights and even glass roo

Glass everywhere in the shopping arcade in Norwich - Shop windows. doors, lights and even glass roof - Credit: Richard Brunton

Ahead of the busiest retail period, figures suggested the number of shoppers heading out to UK high streets were down more than 9pc compared to this time last year.

On what should be the peak trading week for shops, the overall footfall for shopping centre, retail parks as well as high streets was down 7.3 pc up to 3pm yesterday, retail intelligence experts Springboard said.

But a sunny start in across the county could indicate an improvement for retail parks and may encourage shoppers to venture out.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: 'If people are presented with really terrible weather, they then have the choice to shop online, and they can make other choices about what to do with their time.

Christmas shopping should be fun

Christmas shopping should be fun - Credit: Archant


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'That unfortunately offers them sometimes better alternatives than trailing around a town centre or a high street in freezing cold or rainy weather,' Ms Wehrle said.

While footfall appeared to be up earlier in the week - with a year-on-year increase of 6.1pc in high streets, shopping centres and retails parks - the statistics were skewed after snow last year resulted in already low figures.

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Yesterday's figures were considered 'severely down' on last year and Christmas shoppers may not venture out next week as it is so close to Christmas Day.

Figures in September showed the UK to be suffering its worst year on record as sales declined for the eighth month in a row.

Black Friday last month also disappointed, with data showing the biggest drop in footfall for that week in three years.

Ms Wehrle said the trend now to discount items before Christmas and having sometimes all-year-round sales affects buyers' attitudes towards sales and price drops.

'We have come to expect discounts,' she said. 'By the time we get to Christmas we've seen 20pc off, we've seen 30pc off, we've had Black Friday.'

Rachel Lund, head of insights and analytics at the British Retail Consortium suggested shoppers may still turn out for the final few days before December 25.

She said: 'While we have seen a slow start to the Christmas period, changing technology and shopping habits means that many consumers will be leaving their shopping to the last week before Christmas - historically the most important for retailers.

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