Follow us

Restricted consumer spending power curbs UK footfall in Christmas build-up

Tom Bottomley
04 December 2023

Footfall across all UK destinations dropped by -3.8% last week, 26 November – 2 December 2023, compared to the same week in 2022, suggesting the cost-of-living crisis is making a greater impact on consumer spending this year.

As retailers enter the “crucial month of trading” and the real build-up to Christmas begins, last week saw high street footfall slip by -6.3% compared to 2022, and shopping centre footfall decline -2.9%, according to the latest data from retail analysts MRI Software.

Footfall declined marginally by -0.5% across all UK retail destinations last week from the week before, largely driven by a -3.4% drop in high street activity, which could be largely attributed to the previous week (19-25 November) incorporating Black Friday.

However, shopping centres and retail parks last week experienced week-on-week rises in footfall of +1.9% and +3.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the gap to 2019 levels increased on high streets, growing to -16.7% from -11.9% in the previous week.

All regions and town types saw a decline in activity last week from the week before, except for Scotland and the South West where footfall rose by +0.1% and +4.6% respectively.

Wales saw the largest decline in overall footfall last week compared to the same week in 2022 at -11.4%, while footfall was down -3.4% in Central London and -7.6% in regional cities.

Jenni Matthews, Marketing and Insights Director at MRI Software, said: “Following a welcome boost in footfall throughout Black Friday week, retail destinations across the UK witnessed a marginal decline last week from the week before. This was primarily driven by a decline in high streets, however, shopping centres and retail parks continued to see a week-on-week rise which is likely influenced by larger grocery shopping at the beginning of the month and ongoing festive shopping trips.

“With rail strike action already in full flow and wet weather forecasted for the week ahead, it is anticipated that footfall will be impacted across the UK’s retail destinations this week. Hospitality venues could be hit the hardest as the first week of December is usually synonymous with the start of festive parties and get-togethers taking place.

“Shopping centres and retail parks benefitting from easy accessibility by car and the convenience of having a host of brands, stores, leisure and hospitality all under one roof, are likely to remain more resilient.”

Free NewsletterVISIT