• Average weekly footfall in non-food stores rose by +6.8% in November over October.
• Against November 2018 it was down by -7.4%. This is the sixth consecutive month that the 3-month year-on-year trend has deteriorated.
• The regional make-up was very mixed, due to a certain degree to the incessant wet weather and flooding in parts of the country. While other areas recorded declines on 2018 above trend, footfall in Northern England and The Midlands suffered year-on-year deficits in November of – 9.2% and -13.3% respectively.
Commenting on the latest figures, Dr. Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance said:
“All things considered footfall in November held up remarkably well. The size of the month-on-month increase was unexpected, particularly given that Black Friday falls into the official reporting month of December this year. Exceptional blanket promotions by some retailers, hoping to kick start the festive season early, paid dividends – in footfall terms at least.
“This has been another incredibly tough year for retailers in the UK, evidenced by the sorry trail of CVAs and closures. The hope is that it will end on a bright note. Black Friday coinciding with pay day will help get us off to a busy start.
“The general election could stimulate a little extra footfall. On the past five occasions, we have seen a 0.9% boost during election week, but admittedly this has fallen either in May or June, when the weather is far more clement.
“Our expectations for December are that consumers will set aside their despondency with the country’s political and economic affairs, temporarily park their Brexit blues and savour special time with family and friends. This will be reflected in a spirited festive performance by retailers overall, but one that may well end up delivering the most polarised results since the financial crash.
“We are anticipating a twin peak shopping month, heavily skewed around Black Friday weekend and last weekend before Christmas Day. In between these periods, retailers would be advised to hold their nerve and accept that footfall will ease off before coming strong again in a late dash to the 25th. Every year has its twists and turns, but this time they could prove to be particularly acute.”
Ipsos Retail Performance forecasts that non-food footfall in December will be -4.7% down on 2018.
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