UK in tiers in last week before Christmas, delivering further blow to retail industry

Last week footfall across retail destinations continued to rise from the week before, although the increase was much more modest than in the previous week.

Commenting on the latest figures, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle said: “This plateauing of trade in the week before Christmas – particularly when Christmas occurs at the end of the following week – is a long established trend, and if it had not been for the announcement of Tier 4 restrictions we would have expected footfall to rise to a greater extent this week in the final trading days before Christmas.

“Clearly this now won’t happen, as London, the South East and the East account for nearly a half of all UK high street footfall, and so significant drops in footfall in these three regions will heavily impact the overall result.

“The uplift in footfall last week was limited to shopping centres and retail parks, whilst footfall in high streets declined marginally; a consequence of a double digit drop in high street footfall in Greater London (even before Tier 4 restrictions), with smaller declines in the South East and South West, whilst in all other parts of the UK high street footfall rose. This is a sharp contrast to the previous week, when high streets and shopping centres shared the majority of the uplift. 

“The more modest increase in footfall across UK retail destinations last week inevitably meant that the gap in footfall between last year and this year widened once again.  Following the introduction of Tier 4 restrictions, footfall on Sunday 20th December declined significantly from the previous Sunday across all retail destinations”