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Retail traffic up 3.2% for Christmas

Published: 2 January 2009
Sales encourage non-food shopping trips during Christmas week, resulting in the first increase on 2007 in nine weeks.
Retail traffic up 3.2% for Christmas
Non-food shopping trips made in the UK during Christmas week were reported to be up 3.2%. The best performing regions were Scotland and Northern Ireland, where retail traffic was up 4.9% for the week December 21 to 27, compared with the same period last year.

The figures released by Synovate Retail Performance show that the last minute Christmas surge that began on December 19 and continued through to Christmas Eve, saw retail footfall increase 0.3% on last year.

Just as it had in 2007, the day after Boxing Day turned out to be the busiest shopping day of the year. On Saturday, December 27 retail footfall levels were up 3.6% on the previous week, and even 3.5% up on 'Mammoth Monday', which had initially been 2008's 'busiest day in the shops all year', as recorded by Synovate.

Footfall on December 27 was down slightly on last year, with a 1.8% drop. However, Synovate believes this is more to do with retailers starting their sales earlier than last year.

Synovate's retail psychologist Dr Tim Denison explained: "After an extremely lacklustre mid-month period, Christmas week finally produced the last minute rush of shoppers that retailers had hoped for, but not all had expected.

"It was the final six days before Christmas, when shopper numbers were overall 2.2% higher than last year, which made all the difference. Shoppers, holding back for throw-away prices, finally realised that it simply wasn't going to happen that side of Christmas, so they went present-hunting at the last minute."

He added: "Retailers will be hoping that the busy start to their post-Christmas sales continue at a pace through the current week, but I think it will be conditional on both the quality of the merchandise on sale and the level of discounting."

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