The figures released by Synovate for the full week commencing December 4th 2011, show that shopper numbers across the UK were 2.7 per cent down on the same week last year, but 2.4 per cent stronger than the week before.
“After a busy start to the Christmas campaign at the end of November, last week’s figures will be a slight setback for retailers,” explains Dr Tim Denison, director at Synovate Retail Performance.
“We would normally expect to see footfall swell by about 6% over the previous week at this stage of the run up to Christmas, so growth of 2.4 per cent last week is disappointing. However, the week before was a strong one, boosted by striking public sector workers who took the opportunity to Christmas shop, so figures over the fortnight are still ahead of last year, by +2.9 per cent.”
Looking at the regional splits for last week, the gales hit retail footfall in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There, shopper numbers for the week were 15.4 per cent down on the previous year.
The best part of the country for the week was London and South East England, where shopper numbers were nine per cent higher than the same week of last year and 6.9 per cent busier than the previous week.
"It strikes me that after such a hard year, people are determined to make the most of Christmas 2011”, comments Denison. “That doesn’t mean they are indulging on the carefree credit spending sprees seen only a few years ago.
"Instead shoppers are putting a lot of extra effort in to make it a special Christmas without spending beyond their means. Everything is shaping up for 2011 to be a Christmas of ‘responsible shopping’. With a fortnight still to go, and Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday this year, the month shaping up to be a solid one for retailing."