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Footfall rises during Christmas bank holiday after Boxing Day slump

Lauretta Roberts
29 December 2021

After a slump in footfall on Boxing Day and on Monday 27 December, shopper traffic saw a marked uptick yesterday (28 December) offering some hope to retailers who have been battered by rising Omicron cases during peak festive trading.

According to the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions, Christmas bank holiday footfall remained almost a third down on pre-pandemic levels, falling to -27.8% compared to 2019 across all retail settings on Monday 27 December. However yesterday, the second day of the Christmas bank holiday, it recovered to just -5.6% year-on-2-year (Yo2Y), as shoppers headed out to bag a bargain and retailers, who had closed their stores on Boxing Day to give staff an extra day off, re-opened.

Data from Sensormatic Solution’s footfall index, which captures 4 billion shopper visits globally, showed that retail parks performed the most strongly. Having seen a -33.5% dip in shopper counts compared to pre-pandemic levels on Boxing Day itself, retail parks reported a +2.4% increase in footfall yesterday (Tuesday 28 December) compared to 2019. However, High Street shopper traffic remained a quarter (-24%) down, while shopping centres saw a third (-33%) less visitors Yo2Y.

Shopper numbers in London, which has been the most subdued of the UK’s principal cities, were down -22.7% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Despite tighter Covid-19 restrictions coming into force in Scotland and Wales after Boxing Day, footfall in Glasgow was +2% up compared to 2019, while Cardiff was just -1% down Yo2Y, indicating consumer confidence in bricks-and-mortar shopping remains buoyed.

Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “While the Boxing Day figures made for grim reading, there are some positive signs that shopper demand is righting itself, with footfall recovering to -5.6% compared to pre-pandemic levels yesterday, in spite of the concerns about Omicron and rising covid-19 infection numbers.”

“With many retailers having shut stores on Boxing Day itself, to give staff a well-deserved extra day off, consumers voted with their feet once stores re-opened, giving retailers cause for cautious optimism that improved trading over the extended Christmas holiday will continue,” he added.

Image: PA Media

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