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December brings shoppers out in force

Published: 13 January 2015
Non-food shopping trips in December were up 2.7% on December 2013, but much of the rise was down to post-Christmas sales, exchanges and returns.
December brings shoppers out in force
According to the latest figures from footfall specialist Ipsos Retail Performance, the month started slowly, with the forecast lull following Black Friday keeping shoppers away for the first two weeks.

However, footfall accelerated from there and the final week of the month was responsible for December's positive figures, with retail traffic 14.6% higher than the same time last year. The busiest high street shopping day of the entire year was Saturday, December 20, replacing the traditional post-Christmas sale day, December 27, in the top spot.

Northern parts of the country enjoyed the strongest year-on-year improvements. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England all boasted shopper numbers that returned to annual growth - the first time this has happened since 2005.

Said Ipsos director Dr Tim Denison: "A number of conflicting factors, both positive and negative for retailers, played a part in driving footfall during the post-Christmas week. The attraction of the sales, of course, played their part, but retailers opened their doors earlier and closed later, particularly on New Year's Day, helping to bolster the footfall figures.

"However, a substantial amount of the traffic should be attributed to people exchanging or returning gifts."

Footfall levels for the year as a whole continued to fall, as has been the status quo year-on-year since 2007. However, in 2014 the rate of decline slowed dramatically to 0.7%, underlining the fact that 2014 was a better year for retailers.

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