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Every Christmas campaign these days seems to go down to the wire and this year is proving to be no different

With only two days of shopping left before Christmas Day, retail footfall has now peaked. The week commencing 15th December, the last full trading week before Christmas, proved to be the busiest of the year, as anticipated.

The Retail Traffic Index, supplied by Ipsos Retail Performance, showed footfall climb by 12.4% against the previous week. Saturday 21st is confirmed as the busiest day of the whole festive period. Footfall was up that day by 3.7% on the previous Saturday and by 8.0% on Saturday 7th December, and by 21.9% on Friday 20th. For food stores, though, footfall is expected to peak today, Monday 23rd.

Last week was not, however, as busy as the final full week of trading in the run-in to Christmas last year. Compared to the week commencing 16th December 2012, the week commencing 15th December 2013 was 3.0% quieter.

“Shoppers’ behaviour this Christmas has tracked very closely to our expectations,” explains Dr Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. “Our data show that Christmas 2013 got off to a flying start, with shoppers eager to do some early gift buying, to take some of the strain out of Christmas at the end of a difficult year.

“Since then, while traffic has grown healthily week-on-week, there has not been the same clear water gap versus 2012. Shopper numbers are still stronger than December 2012 by 0.2%, but the margin is narrowing. We had expected the last weekend to have been busier than last year, particularly in light of the special events some retailers had launched, but it transpired to be 9.8% quieter. Only 27% of non-food stores recording year-on-year growth. Some had dubbed it ‘panic Saturday’, but I sense that shoppers felt well under control over the weekend. With one extra day’s trading before Christmas this year, some may have decided to keep their final trip to the shops until the start of this week instead, believing that prices are set to fall further.”

Around the regions the footfall picture is varied. The strongest improvement on last year’s shopper numbers is in Scotland and Northern Ireland, whereas London and The South East stands bottom of the league with many of the capital’s workers packing up early and retreating elsewhere.

Year-on-year footfall change: 24/11/13 – 21/12/13 vs 25/11/12 – 22/12/12

Scotland & Northern Ireland +7.6%
North of England +1.0%
The Midlands -0.9%
South West England & Wales +0.4%
London & The South East -2.4%

Week-on-week footfall change: w/c 15/12/13 vs w/c 8/12/13

Scotland & Northern Ireland +11.5%
North of England +16.4%
The Midlands +13.9%
South West England & Wales +13.6%
London & The South East +9.7%

“There’s no such thing as a done deal in retailing”, comments Denison. “Every Christmas campaign these days seems to go down to the wire and this year is proving to be no different. Retailers will be generally satisfied with the pre-Christmas footfall status, but their attention will already have turned to their post-Christmas Sales’ strategy. I believe we will see some radically different executions, dependent upon how well trading has gone before Christmas, left over stock levels and the buying plans for the Sales. It will be fascinating to see how the final week of the year maps out.”

For media enquiries, contact:

Glen Goldsmith
2thefore
Tel: +44 (0)1483 811 234 / 07812 766 338
email: glen@2thefore.co.uk

About Ipsos Retail Performance

Ipsos Retail Performance provides footfall monitoring solutions, shopper tracking systems and in-store behavioural research to retailers worldwide. Its core products - Shopper Count, Shopper Interact and Shopper Engage – scientifically measure all aspects of a shopper experience from store entry to exit. It supplies national and international retailers with essential business metrics to drive accountability and performance improvement.

Ipsos Retail Performance is home to the Retail Traffic Index series, which for over 10 years has been the industry’s leading tracker of national, regional and sector retail footfall trends. It is also co-founder of the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank, offering thought leadership on the state of retail health and the future of retailing.

More information on Ipsos Retail Performance can be found at
www.ipsos-retailperformance.com

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