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In the run-up to Christmas, cautious consumers are keeping footfall below expectations

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: London's Regent Street via Pexels

As the UK awaits the Government’s Autumn Budget update on Thursday, the expected tax rises and spending cuts are keeping shoppers at bay.

New data released by retail experts Springboard, show footfall rose by just 1.3 percent across UK retail destinations last week, despite the run-up to Christmas expected to improve trading conditions.

Footfall rose by 2.1 percent in high streets and by 0.9 percent in shopping centres whilst remaining flat from the week before in retail parks. The rise in footfall in high streets and shopping centres occurred across the majority of UK geographies, with just Wales recording a decline, of -2.6 percent in high streets and -14.6 percent in shopping centres, and a drop in high street footfall of -10.7 percent in Northern Ireland.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, says: “Following a large decline in footfall in the week before last, last week footfall in UK retail destinations rose only marginally. Under normal trading conditions we would expect footfall to bounce back in the week following a decline however, the modest uplift last week is a clear indicator of the increasing cautiousness of consumers in terms of making trips and spending.”

“The results also indicate the change in consumer behaviour that is starting to become evident as a consequence of hybrid working, with the weekend increasing in significance for shopper activity. Footfall over the working week rose last week, however, the increase only partially made up for the drop in activity in the previous week. The largest rise over the Monday to Friday period last week occurred on Wednesday, reflecting our insights that identifies Wednesday as the most popular day for office working and Monday and Friday the least popular. Over the weekend, the double digit rise in footfall was more than twice the magnitude of the decline in the week before last, suggesting that consumers delayed trips to destinations until the weekend which prior to hybrid working may have been taken during the working week.”