Footfall figures still behind last year, but retailers hold their nerve and shopper numbers continue to grow, says Synovate
In the second of the weekly ‘countdown to Christmas’ reports from Synovate Retail Performance show the number of people shopping in non-food stores was 5.7 per cent higher for the week ending December 12th than the previous week.
The report also shows that numbers were down by a full three per cent on the corresponding week of 2008.
Week-on-week growth was strongest in London and the South East, where traffic levels rose by 7.9 per cent. Year-on-year performance was strongest in the Midlands, which saw a rise of 0.5 per cent on 2008.
Synovate’s psychologist Dr Tim Denison explained: “Whilst the year on year figures are subdued, the increase in traffic over these first two weeks of Christmas shopping is greater than the comparable surge last year, confirming that shopping momentum is building.
"We had forecast the deficit in retail traffic against last year to be about 1.4 per cent last week instead of the three per cent measured, but it may be that things are now on the turn.”
During the middle of last week, year-on-year numbers began turning positive, but the slow start to the week outweighed the strong finish on Friday and Saturday.
Denison continued: “We expect to see the strong figures continue into this week and next. Most retailers will be very satisfied with the way the campaign is going so far; mainly because underlying footfall is healthy despite there being far fewer sales than last year, and realistic price points are delivering sales without the need to draw too heavily on deep-cut promotions.”