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Black Friday Knocks The Stuffing Out Of Christmas

Store footfall declines by -5.0% in 2019.

● Footfall fell by -7.2% in December against last year, slightly higher than the -6.1% forecast
● Against November average weekly footfall was up +27.7%.
● London & the South East was the only region to register an increase in store footfall, up +0.8% on December 2018.
● Store footfall in Quarter 4 fell by -7.0% on 2018, a slight improvement on the -7.9% measured in Quarter 3.
● For 2019 it fell by 5.0%, against a forecast of -5.1%

Dr. Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance said:

“We knew the start of the official reporting month would be strong, given it contained Black Friday, and this proved to be the case. Stores were +0.8% busier in that first full week compared to Black Friday week last year, with footfall on the day itself being up by +5.6%.

“The obvious concern was this strong showing would cannibalise demand in the following run-in to Christmas; and so it transpired. Black Friday knocked the stuffing out of Christmas shopping, at least in store footfall terms.”

The number of shoppers in non-food stores usually rises progressively each week in the month before Christmas Day, but this year that failed to materialise. It fell back by -1.8% during the week commencing 8th December, signalling that the appetite for Christmas shopping was on the wane.

The following week, the final full week before Christmas did see something of a recovery, jumping up by +13.7%, but not enough to make up for lost ground. Super Saturday was not so super, registering a -6.2% slide on last year, and both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day disappointed against last year with falls of -9.4% and -13.4% respectively. Footfall rallied as we headed into the weekend, with shopper numbers of Friday 27th being only -1.1% down on Super Saturday, driven gain by the Winter Sales.

Dr Tim Denison continued:

“Overall, the annual decline in footfall ended up as we had predicted, but the pattern of the year was very different. Far from being a ponderous start, shoppers came out of the blocks early and in their numbers during the first 6 months, responding to the strengthening of real earnings growth. However, the resolve of shoppers eroded after the Summer, reflecting the political and economic stalemate that befell the nation.

“We start 2020 in a more optimistic hue than in any of the previous three years. Now with a powerful Brexit mandate behind the Government, the country is hoping to be lifted out of paralysis and back into productivity, bringing new vigour into the consumer economy.”

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