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High Street

Christmas footfall predicted to drop by 62%

Christmas footfall over the six weeks from Sunday 22 November to Saturday 26 December across all UK retail destinations will be down by 62%, according to the latest estimates from Springboard.

The data analysts said the new national lockdown restrictions will see retailers miss out on the start of “essential” weeks of Christmas trading as non-essential retail remains closed until 2 December at the very earliest.

Springboard warns that if the national lockdown is extended throughout December, footfall could drop by more than 80% – the magnitude of decline at the height of the pandemic in April.

Traditionally, Springboard data from 2017-2019 highlights that retailers begin to experience an uplift in footfall from Christmas shopping in the first week of November, rising on average by 3% per week.

However, Springboard said it recognises that the greatest uplift in footfall is usually seen in December with an average rise of 11.4% in week 51 of the year, the last week of trading before Christmas, therefore claiming it is “essential” for non-essential retailers to be reopen and trading by this date.

Prior to the lockdown announcement, a survey of 1,000 shoppers nationally identified that 61.2% of consumers intended to spend more online whilst only 20.4% looked to spend more from bricks and mortar stores.

Springboard added that the latest lockdown restrictions will now see online shopping as the “only option” for consumers throughout the month of November with online channels ‘more important than ever before” for retailers.

These latest findings have been taken from the Springboard-AL Marketing ‘Unwrapping Christmas with Covid 19’ report.

It found that 63.5% of Brits intend to spend less on Christmas this year than last year, with only one in 10 people intending to buy more presents, as there will be more focus to ‘stay home’ to enjoy family time as a third of shoppers intend to spend more on food and groceries which continue to be open and available.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The national lockdown restrictions will now see our struggling retailers miss out on the start of essential weeks of Christmas trading, including Black Friday weekend as non-essential retail remains closed until 2 December at the very earliest.

“Although restrictions may ease in December, this is by no means guaranteed as the second wave of covid19 ripples throughout the UK. Most consumers are likely to have completed a vast amount of shopping online in advance and may well have fears of returning to bricks and mortar stores, however retailers need to be given the opportunity to reopen ahead of Christmas.”

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